Director- Steven Spielberg
Writers- Liz Hannah and Josh Singer
Genre- Biography, drama
Main Actors- Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks
UK Release date- 19/01/2018
For a number of weeks I have wanted to watch this film however with the only showings always too late, it had unfortunately escaped my grasp. That was until this week. When a showing came on at 5:40 I jumped to see it and I’m so glad I did.
Synopsis- The truth behind the Vietnam war had been covered up by four past and present presidents; however, when the first of what soon became known as the pentagon papers were released by the the New York Times; the truth begins to be revealed. The Washington Post, only a local independent newspaper at the time, were desperate to be in on the act and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) pushes hard to get the papers and get authorisation to publish, by owner Kay Graham (Meryl Streep). She is cautious and rightly so as she jostles with going public as a newspaper paper built also maintaining their reputation as she wants to make sure they don’t end up “without a paper.”
Positives- If you haven’t seen this film but are interested in the time period (or even think you might be,) you should definitely go to see it as it is an education. By an education, I don’t mean a boring, artsy, academic film; I mean a remarkably executed film that feeds you facts and details from a time period in a superb way. In the wrong hands this film could have taken a wholly different turn but with: first-rate writing from Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, masterful direction from Steven Spielberg and a magnificent ensemble cast to turn around what they did in just SIX MONTHS is incredible. I liked that the cameras took their time to focus on a single scene or person as it helped build atmosphere and tension. Moreover, this film making style wouldn’t have suited the biopic as it centralised increasingly on Kay Graham and her development. Finally, I just liked the overall product. Of course there were little nuances that I preferred more than others but if I was to go through each not these I would be here all day.
Negatives- This film had quite a weighty build up section and generally I didn’t think that was too bad but on numerous occasions I felt myself on the brink of disengagement, which was disappointing for a film that was excellent for the majority. If the film makers wanted to keep a similar length to the film, which I would disagree with, I think that they could have cut some sections in the middle and added to the end when the main culmination of tension happens. However, I believe to make the film more accessible they could shorten it, only by twenty minutes or so, but I believe it would have done a great deal of service in maintaining audiences’ engagement.
Conclusion- This was a very good film. It was clear that we were watching something made by people with respect for the source which rewarded you; if you managed to maintain immersion even in the lengthy sections.