It's a story Spielberg felt needed to be told now, and for good reason. There are many parallels to the modern day, only nobody here is forced to live out their days hiding in an Ecuadorian embassy or assassinated with poison. When The Washington Post is handed the story themselves (by a hippy girl who dumps a package on the first desk she sees), editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Hanks) immediately decides that the revelations must be released to the public. Being the intelligent man he is, Bradlee had long suspected that the Times had their hands on something huge, and refuses to be silenced by the government of a country whose right to free speech is written in its very constitution. The Post depicts the newspapers search to locate the source of the leak, and Bradlee's relationship with publisher Kay Graham (Streep). The heiress and socialite has her own reservations about the newspaper's upcoming stock market launch, and how the Papers will affect the reputation of her close friend Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood).
There's an earthy, smoky quality to the 1970's-set The Post. Spielberg manages to capture the sweaty urgency of some of the great movies to emerge from Hollywood in its greatest decade, with All the President's Men being the most obvious comparison. In a world now filled with information at the swipe of a thumb, it's exciting and invigorating to see Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) spills his pay-phone quarters onto the floor as he desperately searches for a pen, or the sight of Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) holed up in a motel with thousands upon thousands of printed pages stacked all around the place. The large ensemble, which also includes Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, Bradley Whitford, Alison Brie, Michael Stuhlbarg and David Cross, is impressive across the board, and although its hardly a stretch for such seasoned screen giants, Streep and Hanks - the former a fumbling yet oblivious feminist icon and the latter a cranky but good-hearted fighter - help the film to be incredibly watchable. It doesn't offer any further insights into a story many will already know, and Ellsberg is somewhat sidelined, but The Post is a timely stance against anyone looking to threaten the right to free speech and the freedom of the press.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon