The Post – Film Review

2015’s Bridge of Spies was possibly Steven Spielberg’s most boring movie.  This year he has another true story, but it is far more entertaining.  It’s a journalism film set mostly in 1971, starring Meryl Streep as Kay Graham, who is the owner of the Washington Post.  She has big decisions to make when a series of papers arrive at her newsroom documenting lies the government told about the Vietnam War.  The New York Times have got to the story first, but the Nixon administration is quickly onto them.  Graham must decide whether to publish the papers or not, with her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) pushing for free speech whilst the board of executives worry about the newspapers future.

This film is about a lot of things.  It is mostly about the change in the freedom of the press, and how Journalism must criticize government rather than be friends with it.  There is a strong subtext of feminism that is driven by Streep’s character being the boss in a man’s world.  She has stumbled into this role and has to handle all these men doubting her, and Spielberg tells this narrative pretty well.  At times the subtext is hammy, and pushes the drama into the obvious.  This is not a major flaw, because it’s a story that Spielberg is pitching to a mainstream audience.  It has be a simple message, so that it can be understood universally.  This means that the film never reaches the class of a film like Spotlight, which is more nuanced.  Despite this it is still really well crafted, and at times works likes a thriller.  This is when the film picks up the pace, and becomes really fun to watch (especially if you’re a journalism student).

Meryl Streep being brilliant can get quite dull, but in this film she reminds me how outstanding she is.  From the trailer I was expecting a grandstanding Oscar performance, but instead she’s very vulnerable and quirky.  Her character is shown to be quite dorky, and shy, yet still have a resilience to fight back.  Streep portrays this perfectly, being both amusing and lovable.  She has a great partnership with Tom Hanks, who does well in a grittier role, and his ability to grab Spielberg’s camera is paramount.


Spielberg’s direction is comprehensive and patient.  The way he shoots dialogue is almost of a lost age where he stays on shots, instead of cutting from one person to another.  This allows the drama to settle, and thanks to some catchy camera-movements the film is thoroughly engaging.  It really comes across to me like a film made by experienced campaigners at the top of their game.  Even though the film is not always perfect with its delivery, it mostly nails what it is trying to do.  It’s one of those where I’m sure the world is a better place because of its existence.  Oscar bait it may be, but that’s not an entirely bad thing.


Is it worth the price of a cinema ticket? Yes.

The Oscars 2017 (nominations review)

As I write this, it is the 24th of January 2017, and the Oscar nominations for 2017 were released around two hours ago.  So right now hundreds of writers across hundreds of real film websites will be writing about them.  I am going to do the exact same because every year I get pointlessly annoyed by them.  There is something so frustrating about the popularity of art and I take high possession of the films I love.  And even though the Oscars are complete nonsense, I like to moan about them.


First of, and positively, Deadpool does not feature in the nominations.  This makes me extremely thankful because as loved as that film is, it did not really do anything for me.  I mean it’s entertaining on a visceral level, and sure its a nice relief from the constant stream of superhero flicks but mostly I found it obnoxious.  However, from the nominations there isn’t much of interest that has took its place, so perhaps a nod for a swear-y marvel could have done some good.

In the best film category it’s nice to see Arrival in there, because it’s one of my favourite films of the year and has greatly lost its hype over the last month or so.  Hell or High Water being in there is interesting, as I can’t believe how overrated it is.  It’s a strong film, but nothing really else and in all honestly I thought I would be defending this film for people overlooking it.  Yet it’s there, and it makes me think back to how shallow I thought it was.  La La Land will no doubt take this category and many others, perhaps deserving to as I liked the film a lot but I hope it’s the technical camera spots where it does well.  The cinematography and technique of that film is mesmerising, well overshadowing the content of the film.  Either way it will be hard to get annoyed at such a joyous film sweeping across the board.


Where I get a little bit angry is in the best actress category, as Amy Adam doesn’t feature. I can’t understand why not, she is unbelievably subtle and diverse in Nocturnal Animals and powers home as a fantastic lead in Arrival.  The problem is that she makes way for Meryl Streep, who since her Golden Globes speech has left a sour taste in my mouth.  She feels entitled to a nomination at this point and as great as she may have been in Florence Foster Jenkins, did the film have the same impact that Amy Adams had in two films this year? Thankfully Nocturnal Animals got some love in the supporting actor slot (often my favourite category alongside cinematography) with Michael Shannon, who was obviously insanely good in that film.  I kind of hope Streep see’s through it all and redeems herself to me by boycotting the ceremony.

The biggest snub of them all for me has to be the lack of I Daniel Blake; a brilliant, emotional, and important British film that has been forgotten.  Arguably the actors in the film were more powerful than anyone else this year and Ken Loach must be disappointed the film hasn’t been recognised.  After the Palme d’or win and the success over here I was expecting there to be a storm of British film over the Oscars.  Unfortunately the film clearly did not perform as well in the states, and we will just have to cherish it as our own.


There is a couple of other things that could slightly gone towards more tastes, such as Supersonic getting a look in Documentary feature perhaps.  A uselessly hopeful version of me would have been thrilled to see Green Room get some mention, especially in the acting categories.  Imogen Poots in that film is by far my favourite performance of the year, along with Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys.  However, for the most part I’m not greatly disappointed with the nominations.  It is fairly balanced year, and for the future of original titles is wonderful to see The Lobster pick up a best screenplay & score nomination .

Over the next month I will get more and more annoyed at the nominations where I realise what has been missed, but my possession and love the films will slowly start to wear off. We will never live in a time where the Oscars aren’t important to the film business, though hopefully someday they won’t bother me too much.