The Post

Release Date: January 11, 2018
Review Date: January 13, 2018
Reviewer: Blake Leath
Genre(s): Biopic, Drama

"Lousy" is not quite the right word, but it is a rather lame outing at the cinema.

The Post is a casualty of obnoxious, liberal self-righteousness and self-importance.

The ENTIRE TIME, I kept thinking to myself, "Stop acting, stop acting, stop acting. Please stop acting!" Rather than simply BEING, everyone is ACTING, ACTING, ACTING: Deep breath, heavy sigh, cross arms, look down, look up, rub the back of my neck, look at the other actor, stare at my watch, massage the bridge of my nose, project to the back row, cry on cue. On and on and on it went, "Academy Award in my sights now, here it is, here we go, time now for my big moment, great speech here, hit my mark..." It just felt so dang hammy and overwrought!

And boy, the in-your-face gender differentiations! "All the ladies in this antechamber, all the men in the important room." I felt like I was watching some 1960s hit-job funded by Glorias Steinem & Allred.

It's too bad, too, because in the proper hands (say, Michael Mann, Sydney Pollack [God rest his soul], Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, Ezra Edelman, or perhaps even Christopher Nolan orgaspMel Gibson), it might have been a tight, well-constructed, edge-of-your seat legal paperwork thriller. Just imagine if it had the intensity and pacing of The Insider, The Firm, The Untouchables, The Pelican Brief, A Few Good Men, Memento, or O.J.: Made in America. Or heck, even a well-done procedural, like Dick Wolf's Law & Order. I've no clue what went wrong here, but the Spielberg we get is a far cry from the man who directed 2015's taut Bridge of Spies.

Instead, it's this slow, lumbering, often boring LECTURE about the primacy of whistle-blowers and the free press, which feels like a constant attack on the current state of affairs. (Not that the current state of affairs doesn't warrant a good beating, but not like this, please, not like this.) It could have been, instead, rather timeless, and far more potent, had it under, not over-played its hand.

I'm reminded of so many Christian movies (which might otherwise have been wonderful), were they not so gosh-darned heavy-handed, earnest, and literal, talking to us like we're remedial 5th graders in need of a good Sunday School lesson.

It's the vast difference between a hit U2 song, like, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (a liturgy disguised as a gorgeously rich, catchy, vibrant, thumpy pop song) whichin the hands of, say, Kirk Cameronsounds instead like Billy Ray Cyrus's Love Has No Walls, an after-school special, or a PSA. 

We don't need to be told, we need to be shown. Especially in movies, a visual medium. The more one preaches, the less s/he teaches, and that's precisely what happens here.