by Hunter Johnson
Steven Spielberg is known as one of the most revolutionary film directors of all time. He has always been a director of variety and originality, with films like “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws” and the “Indiana Jones” series under his belt.
Now, Spielberg, in his fifth decade of filmmaking, has yet again demonstrated that he is not finished telling captivating stories.
“The Post” stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the publisher and editor of The Washington Post in the early 1970s. The film tells the true story of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the classified government documents regarding information about the United States’ involvement with the Vietnam War.
Screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer have created a masterful screenplay that doesn’t waste any time with exposition or over-explaining of the events being shown. The film simply shows the events in a very realistic and fast-paced manner.
While the film succeeds on nearly all fronts, the most notable success is in the performances of the ensemble cast. Both Streep and Hanks give outstanding performances; the two veteran actors manage to feel fresh and new, despite having been in dozens of films each.
Outside of the two leads, the film is jammed full of other fantastic actors that all give amazing performances. Most notably is Bob Odenkirk, who gives one of the best performances of his already successful career. Also giving stellar performances are Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, David Cross and Alison Brie who all deserve recognition for what has been accomplished with this film.
Composing the musical score is another veteran artist, John Williams, possibly the greatest film composer of all time. And this film should be put up with some of Williams’ best scores to date. It’s reminiscent of older Spielberg/Williams collaborations like “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Terminal,” but also has many new themes that are sure to go down in history.
The cinematography is surprisingly original and impactful. The film is filled with very long takes which makes the performances feel raw and real. There are multiple times throughout the film that the camera will zoom in and out at the perfect moment to add to the scene’s impact.
One of the only issues with the film is that many viewers probably won’t be as interested in the story as Spielberg clearly is. The film is masterfully made, but unfortunately, many audiences won’t flock to this film in the same way that they will flock to Spielberg’s next film, “Ready Player One,” a film that revolves around something much more attractive to the general audience: video games.
“The Post” will get the awards and critical reception it deserves, but will likely not get the recognition it deserves from a mass audience.
Despite all that, “The Post” doesn’t really make any mistakes. The cast is pitch-perfect, the score is astounding, Spielberg’s directing—despite his dense resume—always feels new and engaging, and the writing is expertly crafted. It’s a true tour de force of modern filmmaking.
Hunter Johnson is a freshman theatre major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He spends his time acting on stage, reading and watching Star Wars, and occasionally doing homework.