Cogill Reviews: “The Post”

Originally published in “West Hawaii Today” December 21, 2017

“The Post” is a culturally significant film that couldn’t come at a better time. Trust in journalism is at an all time low while it’s importance is at an all time high. Women continue to fight for equality in the workplace and here comes Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks with a film that speaks with profound intelligence to both.

The politics of the early 1970’s, leading up to Watergate, is on full display as Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Philadelphia) plays legendary Washington Post newspaper editor, Ben Bradley, pushing his staff to investigate the White House. Nixon hates the press, even tries to suppress and manipulate any negative reporting, and in a matter of minutes you realize the parallels between then and now are uncanny.

Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Deer Hunter, The Devil Wears Prada)

plays Post publisher, Kay Graham, the country’s only female publisher who takes her paper public on the NYSE in an effort to elevate it’s efforts to compete with the New York Times.

Her performance in “The Post” is as good as any in her career, complete with 70’s society fashion, smoke filled board rooms, iconic hair, and a quiet tenacity that is to be admired. Fighting the boys club in this terrific film without cliches is no small feat. Both Streep and Hanks deserve Oscar nominations.

Look for Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) and Traci Letts (Lady Bird, August Osage County, The Lovers) playing important roles in a film showcasing familiar faces with every last one of them authentic.

This is a movie about classic journalism at it’s competitive best. Working multiple sources, following leads, getting stories straight, and holding those in high places of leadership accountable, along with being at the right place at the right time. Moments of “The Post” are thrilling, confident, and so relevant it takes your breath away.

Director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws) is at the top of his game, fueling a screenplay that pours out naturally and provides a logical timeline of events that shaped not only the future of the Washington Post, but continues to serve as inspiration for young college minds studying to find their way into future newsrooms.

There is a history where great cinema and journalism collide. “All The Presidents Men,” and “Spotlight” come to mind. You can put “The Post” in the same headline.

– Gary Cogill

 

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