By V Badrinarayan
The Fourth Estate that we commonly refer to the media & press ignites… flaming a direct confrontation against the office of the President of the United States of America in this gripping 70’s political movie . Who else but Mr.Spielberg can pull this in with direction that rivets you to your multiplex seat showering emotions mixed with tiny pellets of interspersed suspense at critical junctures of the movie.
The Post throws light of a true story when newspapers like the NY Times & the Washington Post showed editorial courage & true civic duty to dare to publish the infamous Pentagon papers. A dossier of classified documents prepared by the US Defense Department spanning 4 presidential tenures which eventually exposed & crucified the covert actions & systematic lies of the US Government in hiding its true involvement in the 30 year old Vietnam war, a war that it knew it was losing . Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham again proves herself as one of the ageing queens of modern acting; at an age that gives young actress a guilt complex of her raw beauty & baroness presence . As the widowed owner of the Washington Post, she battles through management indecision, sentimental passion for her family owned paper, fighting a male dominated board & greedy bankers syndicating her paper’s forthcoming IPO to finally showing steely resolve to give the go command at the nth Morning hour of press production to publish the sensitive documents. Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, editor of the Post plays perfect foil to his owner with his witty, acerbic Punch lines & traditionalist views of taking on the government in the name of freedom of speech. The pair’s twilight morning conversation in Graham’s home on daring to put to risk the paper’s legacy & reputation, its very financial survival & their individual professional careers just to do what is right tells you the pressures & challenges press media goes through in bringing buried truths home in times when a political administration can turn hostile. The supporting cast provides a strong ensemble to the leads and their collective part fascinates you on how a paper runs its main page story day in day day out. Music by John Williams is mostly orchestral & sparse fitting to a newspaper themed production.
Two quotes stood out for me i) While delivering its famous verdict (1971) the Supreme Court jury wrote “ In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” (ii) secondly Katherine Graham’s bold use of the much popular phrase in news-dom with her advisors & staff when she takes the decision to print the papers. “ News is the first draft of history”
The Post I believe does give a compelling reason especially for the mature adult in us to sit through a pulsating tense political movie. A 4/5 for me !!!!