Casting. A cast can make or break a film. While it’s important that the actors fit the roles that they play, it is even more important that they deliver on the acting ability that got them the role in the first place. Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks. These are the names of two of the most talented actors of all time, but they aren’t always the best, as the new film “The Post” proves. It seems that the casting directors, with a Spielberg blank cheque, decided to just grab the first actors that came to mind. They should have known these overworked actors were due to phone one in. Meryl seemed to have no idea what the blocking was, opting to simply follow other actors around during scenes. Additionally, she was especially clumsy, dropping books, knocking over chairs, and stumbling over lines as if her character would be that nervous taking on the responsibilities of running a newspaper at a time when women were significantly less respected. Tom Hanks on the other hand, just seemed to have not learned the script. Often, he would improvise or just repeat the same first amendment preaching. And when he just couldn’t remember his lines, he would stare (as if a reporter would ever take a moment to contemplate whether to publish a significant but controversial, and potentially costly, article). In regards of the rest of the cast, there were several mistakes made. One, Bruce Greenwood was cast as former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. Greenwood’s a great actor. The issue, though, is that he played McNamara’ s boss, John F Kennedy, in the film “JFK.” How can anyone separate his two performances to believe he’s either one of those people. Two, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross appear in the film together as fellow reporters. But they aren’t funny. Why cast the stars of the HBO sketch comedy “Mr. Show with Bob and David” if you don’t intend to let them perform sketches. And lastly, another reporter was played by Jessie Mueller (Broadway: “Beautiful: the Carole King Musical,” “Waitress”) but she was not given any musical numbers. So disappointing. This paragraph was too long- it’s the movies fault for having so much high profile talent.
Media. Thanks to the digital media age, we consume information in so many ways and at a rapid pace. This movie made me want to buy a newspaper though. You may be able to get a constant stream of news through Twitter, but can you feel a tweet? Can you hand a tweet to your friend? Can you cut out a Twitter clipping and post it on your wall (I mean a physical wall, not Facebook)? The answers are no. Online news just isn’t represented in it’s own physical form. Though, we do have personal printers so I guess we could print them to paper ourselves. Actually, newspapers seem to be useless nowadays. But this was still an interesting movie to see how journalists and publishers interact. Though, I guess that’s probably outdated too. I get all my news from random clever people, friends, and celebrities who post on social media. They all have different takes that are much more exciting than what journalists and publishers are willing to print. I mean, I learned this week that the U.S. President is, like, really smart. You aren’t gonna see any journalist writing that. Anyway, while I find the movie and it’s newspaper plotline to be outdated, maybe some people will find something relevant in the film.
Expectations. A great film matches the audiences expectations perfectly. It is jarring when a movie manipulates an audiences’ assumptions by presenting new and different information. When I see a trailer for a movie about the Pentagon Papers being published by the Washington Post, I want to see that happen in the movie. Thankfully, “The Post” is about just that. While they make some attempts to tease the audience that maybe the post won’t publish the top secret information, the movie never manipulates the audience to believe that the story will go any other way than the way it happened in real life. Thus, the stakes and suspense remain low, and the audience doesn’t have to worry or get invested too much. A nice and easy viewing experience.
While the acting and directing was as expected with the talented people involved, the straightforwardness and familiarity of the story prevented the film from going much deeper than a timely statement on the importance of the first amendment. I give the film one popped corn.