Director: Steven Spielberg
A tightly told and compelling drama centering around the Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers, and as much the story of publisher Kay Graham galvanizing her role as owner. Mr. Spielberg excels at putting us in the moment and elucidating the stakes for the characters and the moment in history. An exceedingly deep cast – headed by Meryl Streep as Graham and Tom Hanks as Editor in Chief Ben Bradlee, whose scenes together are themselves a Master Class – help bring verve to what could have been a dry subject, and even the small roles are played by great actors – Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood, Alison Brie, Michael Stulbarg, Jesse Plemons, and many more. It’s a pleasure to see such good acting populate every scene, no matter how short or secondary it may seem.
There are reminders of All the President’s Men, from the newsroom scenes and the suspense of finding the files and guarding the truth. There is also a strong affirmation of the value of the Fourth Estate and the imperative to safeguard a free press and the First Amendment in the face of those who would attempt to destroy them – and yes, they mean the orange POTUS and those who support him. Whether Spielberg is preaching to the choir or not, it’s a sermon worth giving.
As usual with all this director’s work, the crafts are excellent, from Spielberg’s long time cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and composer John Williams, through the entire team. Not the greatest of the legendary director’s pictures, but an important one for our times and not to be missed. Must See.