Post, The (Drama/Conspiracy) 2017 [Movie/Review]

9/10

Year: 2017
Genre: Drama/True Story
Director: Steven Spielberg
Original Title: –
Source: DVD (Nordisk Film)

PLOT

When American military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg, realizes to his disgust the depths of the US government’s deceptions about the futility of the Vietnam War, he takes action by copying top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. Later, Washington Post owner, Kay Graham, is still adjusting to taking over her late husband’s business when editor Ben Bradlee discovers the New York Times has scooped them with an explosive expose on those papers. Determined to compete, Post reporters find Ellsberg himself and a complete copy of those papers. However, the Post’s plans to publish their findings are put in jeopardy with a Federal restraining order that could get them all indicted for Contempt. Now, Kay Graham must decide whether to back down for the safety of her paper or publish and fight for the Freedom of the Press. In doing so, Graham and her staff join a fight that would have America’s democratic ideals in the balance.

OPINION

The Post directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, that stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the longtime executive editor of The Washington Post. It’s set in 1971, and depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers, a set of classified documents regarding the 20-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War and earlier in French Indochina back to the 1940s.

Conspiracy/cover-up movies is probably my absolute favorite genre, especially if it’s based on a true story. I think these are the most important movies of them all, movies that shows the real face of men in power. The willingness to sacrifice human lives for not losing “face” or to enrich themselves. Although, my questions always stands after these exposures:

  1. Why aren’t individuals like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden or Julian Assange celebrated as our biggest heroes? To me they are. They serve the people and not the men in power. Men we always have to investigate. Police the police so to speak.
  2. Why aren’t there bigger outrage after discoveries or revels like this? The propaganda from the the people in power, usually to “minimize” or make the reveler the “black sheep”.

In real life Daniel Ellsberg lent his name to a paradox in decision sciences that he popularized. Termed the Ellsberg paradox, it demonstrates that human beings have an aversion to ambiguity and prefer a known devil to an unknown angel thus violating certain assumptions of rational decision making theory. Which says a lot of the human race. The need to have someone to look up to or follow like gouverments or kings and queens. I don’t understand that at all.

The movie also contains two of my favorite actors in smaller rolls, Jesse Plemons as a lawyer. I love his stiff and dry characters which he kind of always plays. Bob Odenkirk is great as always, although I can’t shake off his character as a sleazy lawyer in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Read more about the Pentagon Papers here!

LOCATION/BACKGROUND/TRIVIA

Steven Spielberg wanted to have his film released as quickly as possible given the parallels between its theme and the burgeoning political ‘fake news’ climate in the U.S. at the time. According to Meryl Streep, filming started in May (2017) and finished at the end of July (2017) and Spielberg had it cut two weeks later, an unprecedented feat. The gestation from script to final cut lasted a modest 9 months – all within the year 2017.

The three primary sources for the screenplay’s events and dialogue are Katharine Graham‘s memoir Personal History, Ben Bradlee’s memoir A Good Life, and Daniel Ellsberg‘s memoir Secrets: a Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg was the only one of the principal characters still living at the time of filming. After consulting with Ellsberg, Steven Spielberg expanded on his role with the prologue depicting his disillusionment with the war and his copying of the Pentagon Papers. Originally in the script Ellsberg was going to be an unknown, off-screen character until Ben Bagdikian’s meeting with him.

In his memoir, the real Daniel Ellsberg claimed that walking out of RAND with the Pentagon Papers (and returning them) over the course of months was a calculated risk, since he had never had his bag checked by security, but he did not know for sure if it was not policy to do so.

The Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1972 was awarded only to The New York Times for its publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Never having previously collaborated with director Steven Spielberg in a director/actor capacity, Meryl Streep was flabbergasted to learn that Spielberg never rehearses with his actors. Co-star Tom Hanks was well aware of this idiosyncrasy but decided, in gleeful anticipation of a ‘diva’ reaction, not to tell Streep. Despite her initial shock, Meryl and Steven got along extremely well during the shoot with Spielberg being so impressed with her character transformation, he had difficulty restraining himself from constantly complimenting her every take on set.


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SOUNDTRACK

The score for the film was written by John Williams; it is his 28th collaboration with Spielberg. The music is a combination of traditional orchestral instrumentation and what Williams has called “very light, computerised electronic effects.” Williams was originally attached to write the music for Spielberg’s Ready Player One, but, because both films had similar post-production schedules, Williams chose to work on The Post, while Alan Silvestri composed for Ready Player One. Spielberg has said that The Post was a rare instance in which he went to the recording sessions “having not heard a note” in advance.

Recording began on October 30, 2017 in Los Angeles. The soundtrack was released digitally by Sony Classical Records on December 22, 2017 and in physical form on January 12, 2018.

FORMAT

I watched this on a very basic Scandinavian DVD from Nordisk Film with ok picture and sound. Nothing really to talk about here.

Background information from several sources, such as Imdb and Wikipedia.

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