Directed by Steven Spielberg
From 19th January 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Some New York Times veteran reporters are apparently furious at the idea that Steven Spielberg has created a film about the so-called ‘Pentagon Papers’ called ‘The Post’. They contend that the publication of the classified information relating to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was a Times scoop and that the paper took the initial risk, which could have led to its proprietors and a number of their reporters ending up in jail on treason charges.
The Post is set in 1971 and deals with the leaked secret reports which showed that all the utterances and decisions made by various USA presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, JF Kennedy, Johnson, and at the time of their publication in the press, Nixon) were a continual series of lies.
The New York Times had published extracts from the Pentagon Papers but a court injunction stopped them from publishing more revelations.
Multi-millionaire liberals Spielberg, Tom Hanks, who played Post editor Ben Bradlee, and Meryl Streep, who took the role of the paper’s publisher Katherine Graham, have made it clear that, although set in the early 1970s, there are stark similarities with Donald Trump and his staff, as well as leading bankers, who have a strong contempt and distrust of the American media.
An aspect of the movie I found compelling was seeing images of the contents of the Post being prepared for publication and very large printing presses operating at full speed. Newspapers are produced and printed in a vastly different way in the present day!
The period detail of the film was authentic to a large degree, including the use of outdoor public phones to convey secret messages, away from the ears of the of secret services.
But I was baffled why Spielberg used composer John Williams to produce what turned out to be an insipid soundtrack.
It may have been more appropriate to include top notch rock and pop music, some of it political in scope, from that period, of which there is an abundance of.