• Daniel Rae

The Post Review

"The Post", 20th Century Fox, 2017

Whilst there's a lot to appreciate about how Spielberg managed to navigate through this down-to-earth wartime drama, there's not a whole lot that I personally find engaging.

One thing I do enjoy about this film is how the director managed to incorporate his trademark cinematic flair into a story that's so far removed from the realm of film, and how he managed to tailor it to the individuality of this film's feel. The sense of spectrum is effective in highlighting the weight that is fallen onto Ben and Kay's shoulders and the dilemma that ensues between objectivity and subjectivity. Granted, whilst this film isn't that concerned with the "government protection"-side of the argument, I feel like the balance between Spielberg's attention to detail with Hank's and Streep's characters and the cinematic groundwork of the cinematography encourages audiences naturally towards the ideology in favour of public interest. I think Spielberg handles the screenplay and the script wonderfully. Both withered in different ways, the director understands the humanity of a subject that holds this much national importance and so makes sure that the relationship between the central protagonists and the characters around them is nothing but realised and human, managing to capture to nuances of performance from Streep's often fatigued and weary tone to Hank's slightly hunched-over body language. The eye-catching use of light manages to plant the mise en scene authentically in the 70s whilst carrying a sense of urgency that modern audiences are taken by. The sleek movements and articulate compositions of characters set against these retro-tinged backdrops manages to translate well this urgency whilst underlining audiences the importance of the public's awareness of the country's internal and external political affairs.

Nevertheless, as detailed as the characters are that prevents them from acting like pawns to a simple recreation of the events that happened, the attempt in the presentation of the story to be as compelling and winding as the characters, in my opinion, is not fully realised. As much as I appreciate how Spielberg managed to calve an, overall, engaging story that somewhat relies on the audience's history going in to the film, I feel like the actual presentation of certain events pivotal to the movement of the storyline were underbaked and flippantly handled. Alongside the elongated sense of pacing, this often results in disorientation that undercuts the wit of the script. The way that the diegesis often loop back round to particular plotpoints seemed more to reassure the audience of what happened previously rather than to actually move the story along.

Ultimately, I only found some aspects of this film to be interesting and enjoyable. Whilst I like the way that it highlights the need for the truth, the battle for said truth often disengaged me from the idea. Whilst I can appreciate how Spielberg tackled wider themes that stems from the omnipotent power of politics like gender, it is treated to nothing more than a wide shot of Kay composed as a role model towards women or lost amongst the company of men. This, accompanied by the lack of room for variation between the storylines, underlines the opportunity for something more ambitious.

2.5/5 Stars

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