The Post (2017)

A lesser effort from Spielberg.

The cast is strong enough to always keep the film watchable enough (though it’s disappointing to see how much their “characters” feel like ciphers – Hanks was much better served in his last collaboration with Spielberg, “Bridge of Spies”, where his characterisation was anchored with very strong values), but it’s a slog to get through an overlong first act needlessly setting up very intuitively understandable stakes, then suffer through a witless script barrelling towards a well-known conclusion in a way that doesn’t illuminate anything new about the process to get there.

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What does work nicely is a lot of the design and visual work. Spielberg seems fascinated by the actual physical machinery, the printing press, and montages of the actual physical processes involved in getting the news to people are a delight and filled with a lot more pep and energy than the film’s many conversations. One scene where the printing of controversial material sees the newsroom literally shake (apparently accurate to history, where the Washington Post’s newsroom was only one floor above the actual machinery), a nice flourish of storytelling. But there isn’t much else to chew on here. It’s obvious why Spielberg wanted to make this film now, but he didn’t particularly make it in an enlightening way. Two newspapers, and a printing press.

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