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film reel image

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Post 2017 * * Stars

The PostDirector: Steven Spielberg
Year: 2017
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Sarah Paulson

In 2017's The Post (my latest review), Steven Spielberg opens the film with a combat sequence that is brief and all too pedestrian. It's patchwork stuff at best. That's surprising seeing that this is the same guy who shot the savage, beaches of Normandy battle in Saving Private Ryan. 

Anyway, cut to 1971 where the publisher and executive editor of The Washington Post risk their livelihood to put out the Pentagon Papers. These Pentagon Papers are classified documents chronicling America's involvement in the Vietnam War. In a hurried and glossed over two hours, I give you the true account of Steven Spielberg's underwhelming and underdeveloped "Post".

So OK, wanna see Steve's most self-serious and most pretentious flick to date? Just pony up six to ten dollars at any local theater (or don't after you read "Post's" short rounded assessment).

The Post, which has a sort of held back film score by legend John Williams, is clearly Steven Spielberg rushing to put out any type of material he can for the veritable Academy Awards season. He's clamoring and he knows that Oscar voters always surrender to his holier-than-thou groove.

Image result for the post 2017 movie scenesWith his "Post", I was obviously reminded of 1976's All the President's Men (just look at Ben Bradlee's desk setting which appears to be identical). Here's the thing though: Spielberg fails to generate the type of numbing atmosphere and/or paranoid tension that Alan J. Pakula did back in '76.

"Post", despite failing to garner my utmost recommendation, still has one of the best casts of any movie this year. I'm talking leads played by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, co-stars in the form Bradley Whitford and Bruce Greenwood, and side characters portrayed by Bob Odenkirk and Sarah Paulson. These are all decent troupers yet Spielberg doesn't handle them well. He lets everyone wink into the camera while they give off the sense of being increasingly irksome. There are too many unworkable, Spielbergian moments here and not enough workable, Hanksian moments. The whole experience of the candidly talky scenes is just plain awkward.

Image result for the post tom hanks movie scenesIn conclusion, Spielberg as always tries his darnedest to recreate a period of long days past. This is evident in The Post. "Post" has a sheeny look, an accurate attention to detail, and a 70's time setting that's just palatable enough. If the Academy does honor Steven next Tuesday, it will be because The Post is well, historically significant. For me, it doesn't matter either way. "Post" might be Stevie boy's weakest effort since 1991's Hook. That's not good. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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