pentagon papers movie

Steven Spielberg has always done a fine job of rotating between his entertainments and his more serious pictures. After all, we’re talking about a filmmaker who somehow managed to release Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in the same year. Note how he balanced The Adventures of Tintin with War Horse and Bridge of Spies with The BFG. It’s no coincidence that the upcoming Ready Player One will arrive shortly before The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Spielberg is a storyteller with many interests and we are better for it.

And on a day that confirmed he will soon get around to finally making Indiana Jones 5, it only makes sense that we would also learn that Spielberg is making a movie about the infamous “Pentagon Papers,” with the thespian dream team of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep set to star.

The film is called The Post and Deadline reports that Spielberg has just signed on, making him the third member of an unbeatable Hollywood triumvirate. The script is by Liz Hannah and it was bought last year by Amy Pascal’s Pascal Pictures. We can probably assume that it’s a pretty, pretty good script.

This will mark the fifth time Spielberg has directed Hanks, but only the second time he has directed Streep (she voiced the Blue Fairy in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence). However, this will be the first time Hanks and Streep have shared the screen together, despite having shared producer credits offscreen in the past. The chance to see these three, all legitimate masters of their craft, collaborate on a single movie is surely worthy of an admission cost.

Set in 1971, The Post follows The Washington Post‘s showdown with the United States government over the “Pentagon Papers,” a classified military document that was leaked to the press by military analyst Daniel Ellsberg. The report offered evidence that the Johnson administration had lied to the American people and Congress alike, secretly escalating the War in Vietnam. Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Kay Graham joined forces with the New York Times, fighting for the right to publish the papers. Hanks will play Bradlee while Streep will play Graham.

Although set 46 years ago, the story behind told in The Post is still relevant today. In an age where the President of the United States has declared war on journalists and longstanding news institutions, it’s all anyone can do to remind the American people of the importance of facts and the men and women who have dedicated their lives to collecting them and putting them on record. After all, the press is a vital force in any free society – when our leaders overstep, our newspeople are required to call them on it. That’s been a cornerstone of American ideals since the founding of the nation, it was a cornerstone during the days of Richard Nixon, and it’s more important than ever in 2017.

Sorry to get political on you, but we live in political times. There is no way these people making this movie right now aren’t sending a message. Welcome to the world of post-Trump art.

While this sounds like it could be the cinematic equivalent of eating your vegetables, Spielberg’s Lincoln is a case study in how to educate and enlighten while also making the most entertaining film imaginable. Spielberg wears his personal politics on his sleeve (right alongside his big ‘ol sentimental heart), but he has always been, first and foremost, our greatest entertainer. The Post could be rousing and “important,” but it’s almost surely going to be fun as well.

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