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Despite a White House ban, Bradlee refuses to take the acerbic Judith Martin (Jessie Mueller) off the Tricia Nixon wedding, and that minor decision reflects his core values. “The Post” has some good tense scenes set in the analog era of reporting, notably when Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk), the harried Post reporter with a long-time connection to Ellsberg, hunts him down using multiple pay phones, then flies to Washington with the boxed papers in their own special seat.
The shoe-leather dimension of reporting has always been more dramatic than contemporary scenes of investigators staring into their computer terminals.
Yet both those films had a depth and mystery and power that transcended the moment; you could watch them 20 years from now and they would still echo.
“The Post,” written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer in a mode that’s bounding and busy and a little too expository, is a more pointedly utilitarian, less imaginative movie — it’s high-carb docudrama prose rather than poetry.
When he and two of his reporters first see the Pentagon Papers story on a newsstand, learning about it along with everyone else, Bradlee knows how historically vital it is — but he also knows that he’s been scooped.
That’s a lesson that has rarely needed to be heard as much as it does today.
“The Post” is a movie of galvanizing relevance, one that’s all but certain to connect with an inspiringly wide audience (I predict a 0 million gross) and with the currents of awards season.
Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Alison Brie, Jessie Mueller, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Carrie Coon, Zach Woods.
Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” throttles along in a pleasurably bustling, down-to-the-timely-minute way.
At the same time, part of what rescues the movie from any vestige of preachiness is that it’s framed as a business drama.