With Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg & Meryl Streep in the mix, combined with a seventies political storyline that has culpable comparisons with current White House conspiracies, this along with considerable media coverage this side of the pond & ahead of its release, “The Post”, like many others in this awards soaked season start, was a must see, but did it live up to its colossal cinematic claims, miss that magnificent mark by a major margin or sit somewhere comfortably between?
When it comes to actors & directors in the motion picture business, you can count on certain names as being safe hands, those actors consistently delivering solid screenplay performances, movie after movie, while in terms of directors, the name alone generally means that the film very rarely if ever turns out to be a flop and while, there is a risk that the said screenplay actors or directors may result in a movie that is, at best run of the mill, we rarely find ourselves disappointed to the extent that we either avoid acclimation or coarsely criticize what generally is & are billed as cinematic colossuses, rather we feel comforted of being in safe pairs of hands while sitting in front of the silver screen. And in the case of actors Tom Hanks & Meryl Streep, that’s exactly what we get, performances that are hardly ever disappointing, are occasionally phenomenal, but are, more generally, solid as a rock, recent examples of Hanks’s dependability extending to “Bridge Of Spies”, “Captain Phillips”, “Cloud Atlas” & “Saving Mr Banks”, all performances which didn’t particularly stand out but did what, effectively, it said on the tin. Indeed, as far as Meryl Streep is concerned, we can say virtually the same, the likes of “Florence Foster Jenkins”, “Into The Woods” and “Julie & Julia”, solid Streep performances, while there can be no dispute in our books that she was utterly phenomenal in “August Osage County” and equally so in “Doubt”, while Hank’s performances in “Apollo 13”, “Philadelphia” & “Sully” stand out for us. Then turning to director Steven Spielberg, we pretty much grew up admiring his work on the silver screen from classics “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”, to “E.T.”, & “Jaws”, through his “Indiana Jones” & “Jurassic Park” series’, as well as more recent hard hitters “Lincoln” & “Schindler’s List”, while we have to hang our favourite hate on his very first film, “Duel” a movie masterpiece which fully deserves it’s mention place along with these others. So, individually these three superstars of the silver screen have shown to be solid performers through the years come decades, but when, for the very first time, you combine all three, in this case with “The Post”, we were expecting not just good tings but great ones as a result.
Now, it would be fair to say that both Hanks as Ben Bradlee & Streep as Katherine Graham once again return solid performances in this screenplay adaptation of the true tale of newspaper, The Washington Post, attempting to catch up with its nemesis, The New York Times, in exposing massive government secrets cover up’s, some of which eventually led to the topple of then president, Richard Nixon, we have to be brutally honest in saying that we came away from the cinema not in any way blown away by them both, as we did with Hanks in “Sully” & Streep in August Osage County. Yes, the film was entertaining enough, clearly the truth based storyline engaging & interesting, certain scenes, especially the running of the printing presses, cinematically superb, yet given the amount of exposure this motion picture had been afforded, when comparing it to other recent films on the circuit, such as “All The Money In The World” & “The Shape Of Water”, “The Post” fell well short of the lofty expectations we had on entering the cinema. Indeed, we are struggling to flesh out what we have to conclude was a solid screenplay but nothing much more, the focus that was placed on the joining of Hanks, Streep & Spielberg forces, not really producing the stunning sparkle we were expecting which, when you consider that Streep has nominations aplenty for her role, while the film itself in in the “Best Picture” category at the forthcoming Academy Awards, we are kind of scratching our head as to whether we are missing a trick with “The Post”. But in the final analysis, it comes back to what we have been saying from the outset, the performances from both it’s leading actors delivered solidly but nothing much more, after all its what we expect from heavyweight Hollywood’s Hanks & Streep, while in terms of the cinematic content, again its standard Spielberg stuff, but in no way stand-out, well for us at least. Will either of these Oscar nominations result in awards? Given the competition, we doubt it. Is “The Post” an outstanding motion picture? Again, in comparison to others, perhaps not, rather more run of the mill, both questions leading us to the answer that we can’t see it finding a place in our DVD collection, despite the industry pedigrees of Hanks, Streep, Spielberg or even the three combined. (DISCO MATT)