Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Post

So much has been written about The Post and the story of the Pentagon Papers, along with the Watergate, is so much a part of the mythology of the Nixon administration that any commentary runs the risk of being redundant. But as a piece of entertainment and an example of the sophisticated popularization of history with which Steven Spielberg has become associated, it’s interesting to look at the movie in the way one might an essay say like the great essay by A.J.P. Taylor on The Origins of the Second World War. As a director and a conveyor of information Spielberg has many talents but one might be termed the "cadence of disquisition." Scene one of the movie takes place with an American unit being ambushed and facing grave casualties in Vietnam.  The morning after Daniel Ellsberg is spotted with his typewriter, providing the grist for the mill, the raw observation that would one day become the infamous Pentagon Papers. We then are presented with some key statistics such as the fact that 70% of the reason for America’s involvement was to save face, when in fact military victory was only a l0% possibility. At the same time, a totally different subplot unravels concerning a public offering of Washington Post stock that becomes the McGuffin. The presses roll and the headlines pop out in the style of 30’s movies, but the paper’s survival is at stake. It's the old silent film montage shot of the train coming with the heroine tied to the tracks. And finally there’s the famous ruling in which the Justice Black declares, “The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” “I think we may have a burglary in progress in the Watergate,” says a security guard with a flashlight. It’s the last line of the movie and the director’s Q.E.D.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.