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The Post Movie Review (2017) | Serving the Governed Not the Governors

Walks in with yet another engaging spectacle, Steven Spielberg is hands down a master at filmmaking. The extremely gifted man once again proves with The Post Movie that he is peerless at what he does. His work never ceases to paint flairs of extraordinaire. He is the one man who could make a simple conversation stand out. And there is so much inscribed in his frames that you can’t help but wonder how does he manage to pull it all off.

There’s a story he tells even in long winding conversations.  The Post Movie is full of such brilliant masterly koreros. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep with their Oscar-bait presence, make all those chats stand out. There’s something about his direction that’s instantly uplifting. Even when he is not busy painting fiction like last years The BFG, he is pouring meaning into the mundane, shaping it and moulding into something delectable.

In a world of power that’s run by the corrupt, perches a voice that’s broiling to do the right thing. The Post movie bases itself on that very run, the pointlessness of a war that had edged itself precariously on the parapet of “let down”. The fact “we can’t show the world we lost” smothers the superpower dream and the United States government was finding it difficult to come clean. It was The New York Times who took the first plunge but the victor – The Washington Post who saw it all the way through.

The Post Movie Plot and Theme (Spoilers)

The Post narrates the true story of the Pentagon Papers that shook the very foundation of the US government when they were made public in 1971. It is built around all that took place inside the head of all the decision makers and the turmoil they were in when something as huge as the truth itself came along.

The Post movie kicks off in the year 1966 with a prologue showing Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) accompanying US troops and documenting US military activities led by Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). When speaking to President Lyndon Johnson he expresses how hopeless the Vietnam war was, and yet publicly speaking McNamara says the exact opposite.

The post movie still tom hanks

There was something about that blunt lie that shakes the very foundation on which Daniel was built. Unable to take it anymore he decides to let all the government secrets out in the open for the public to see. He photocopies classified reports that showcase the progress of Americans on Vietnam soil ever since the time of Harry S. Truman and then leaks it to The New York Times. Later he releases it to The Washington Post where a pissed off Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) was scouring for news.

Quality drives profitability.

It should be well noted the import of the papers. It is worth noticing how the director chose to run the camera literally with the Pentagon papers thus establishing the colossal importance of news. A world was about to go down for some really powerful people. You could literally feel the weight of the papers in that parcel that made its way to Ben’s desk.

Meryl Streep as Kay Graham

Katherine Graham or Kay (Meryl Streep) found a world on her shoulders when she took the reins of The Washington Post in her hands as the publisher and owner after her husband died. She was overpowered by some really strong men, and it was hard for her to cope with those who condescended her at all times. Be it be her advisors or the men who surrounded her.

In the beginning, there was this apparent tension as clouds of doubts hovered over her. It was important to show that owing to the huge decision boiling in the eventuality of the flick. Meryl nails it giving an Oscar-worthy performance yet again.

Meryl Streep in The Post movie

There are some really ingenious shots put in by Steven Spielberg when he chose to show a woman entering a room full of men. It spoke of contradiction. Even though words weren’t spoken, eyes spake ’em. There was an evident air of control that you could sense in that frame when Katherine takes her seat unable to speak herself out due to stress and hesitation.

News is the first rough draft of history.

You could sense her to be this vulnerable woman who was forced out of her way and flung into a room full of responsibilities. What people did not know was the undeniable fact that every person is totally capable of handling things once they get a hang of it.

There was also one scene where all the wives of men at great posts stood outside smoking, waiting and discussing trivial matters while this contrasting lady Kay Graham goes right through them all to meet with the ‘men’ to take a call. It is just truly inspiring for all those who thought there was a said place for women. She literally changed the very perspective people had about women.

Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee

Editor in Chief of The Washington Post is Ben Bradlee portrayed by Tom Hanks. He is rooting for a big news when the biggest of all news hits him in the face. A lot of shots are called by him in the flick but at the end of the day, the decision still stood with Kay.

Tom Hanks, the brilliant actor he is, adds in plenty of heft in the pacing story through his acting. He is still one of the best actors, hands down. Taking a seat like a boss, turning down people who aren’t useful, you could literally feel him turn into the Editor in Chief of The Washington Post.

But it is Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) who is contacted by Daniel Ellsberg who flies to him to see the papers in person. It blows him away when he witnesses a room full of documents.

I always wanted to be part of a small rebellion.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge all the popular newspapers in United States faced was the government itself. When The New York Times had leaked the first received document, the government restricted the papers from publishing further by calling it an act of treason. Now more of those papers fell into the hands of The Washington Post, and it was a suicide mission for them if they still went ahead to publish.

So it all boiled down to the decision, the ultimate decision whether to post or not to. That decision was to be made by none other than Katherine herself. What made matters worse for her was the fact that she was good friends with Robert McNamara. Put in a position that demanded her to be truthful to the country, to be loyal to her friendship, despite being under the crosshair that could have destroyed the paper she had inherited, Katherine had the world spinning. She had to make a call.

The conversation between Ben and his wife Tony Bradlee (Sarah Paulson) about Kay being brave is something to watch out for.

To make this decision, to risk her fortune and the company that’s been her entire life, well I think that’s brave.

Then we had people constantly battling with her, advising her not to publish since it could decimate the company to tatters. People who looked down upon her, for not only being a woman, but for being incapable of taking a decision on her own.

He says we can’t, I say we can. There, you’re caught up.

Despite everything and a mind-numbing thrashing, she finally makes the right call by choosing to print.

My decision stands, and I’m going to bed.

She had just bugled the arrival of truth, and nothing could have put it better than the following dialogue:

The movie ends with a proper epilogue adding fuel to fire by winking at the Watergate scandal which ultimately led to the resignation of Nixon.

You can order The Post from here:

The Final Verdict

The Post movie needs to be celebrated not just for the fact of how convincingly it has been made and produced, but for its ability to be able to break something unbreakable. Even something as gargantuan as a government could be wrong. It is after all made with people. If they are corrupt, that’s what the governance would end up becoming.

The Post movie is a revolt that brims us up with hope that truth beats everything. You just have to take a stand and never back down even though how intimidating the enemy is.

The papers weigh a country’s conscience. If they are rigged or stomped down, nothing will ever be right again. It’s a movie that sets history right.

What is the Terminator Boy Edward Furlong up to these Days?

When was the last time you heard that name? Eddie or Edward Furlong? You might remember him as the Terminator Boy who played John Connor in the 1991 blockbuster by James Cameron. Ring a bell? I know it’s hard to bring back a lost decade. Here a picture of him might help:

image of a young Edward Furlong from Terminator 2 Judgment Day

I was only three years old when Terminator 2: Judgment Day had rolled out. But it wasn’t until 8 years later that I saw the movie for the first time. I know that was some gap. But if you had been in my country and time where Hollywood was frowned upon by parents, I might as well gain some sympathy votes and stand for election.

So there I was watching T2 on Star Movies, alongside my Dad for the first time, who by the way was already mesmerized by the concept of having a robot around for bodyguard, and I realized that the Terminator Boy was really good. Hell! I wanted to be like him. I loved how he looked, and that attitude he wore, I found it to be sheer badass! Soon enough I started copying him, his hairstyle in particular, but for a kid with frizzy hair and a Dad who never allowed me to grow hair long enough to even cover my eyes, I came nowhere near. I had somehow convinced myself that I looked like him when I combed in a certain way. Then I would flick my head as if I pushing all those locks behind.

Post an Early Fame

It was about the same time I came across the movie Before and After. I was jumping on my chair when I found that it was Eddie in there. I watched the movie with utmost attention appreciating every bit of him, and the movie in whole. Didn’t even know that the real actors in the movie were none other than Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson. It had a beautiful theme where a child accidentally kills his girlfriend in a petty scuffle. Being a child, and no girlfriend, I had related to him the most. You see empathy has been my superpower ever since I was a kid.

Somewhere along the way, I came across Pet Sematary 2 too. They used to show dud movies on HBO, yes.

I must implore you to reserve your judgment. I was a kid back then, and I loved even pathetic movies, even those that had pointless themes. Of course, things are different today. But back then I used to be super psyched for everything that TV showed.

I later came across the first part, and then realized why the second one was plain stupid. But I liked Eddie nevertheless. I secretly wished to be Drew Gilbert his friend played by Jason McGuire from the movie. I was fat then, yeah!

Big Projects

still of Edward Furlong as Danny Vinyard in American History X

It was not until I saw him in American History X that I realized there was a whole lot of potential in the kid, and that he was definitely headed somewhere. It was an arresting plot introducing Furlong to a strange world of possibilities. His colossal chance of making it big in Hollywood gawked at him not to forget the success of Terminator 2 that had already shot him in the air.

By that time, our Terminator Boy had already visited T2 in 3D and was looking solid in those acting shoes. I came across Detroit Rock City on HBO and loved it instantly. That rebellious attitude was singing songs in my head too.

That’s when I also encountered the Steve Buscemi movie Animal Factory which I instantly fell in love with. The Edward Bunker story was great and I couldn’t help but cry alongside his seriousness.

He was a Hollywood heartthrob alright, and he looked so cool that I just wanted to be like him. He smoked and everything which isn’t a good thing to copy but I kind of liked that reckless demeanor I guess. All those photos with his love interest Liz Levy used to come so rad that I copied his style, that messy hair that carefree attitude, everything secretly hoping Liz to show up sometime.

The Lost Terminator boy

Then I lost track of him. Some serious life stifled me up good and I guess I forgot everything about Eddie Furlong and my obsession to watch his films and be like him. I used to find his photos every now and then. I heard he was doing The Crow: Wicked Prayer and he looked a complete badass in that crow avatar. But I never got a chance to watch that movie, only to realize later that it fell face forward as a mighty flop.

People have a hard time keeping it together. That’s when the drug and substance abuse happened to him. I didn’t even know it had swallowed the Terminator Boy so much that it started affecting his life. It started skewing his looks. He went into rehab in 2000, and the return wasn’t that great.

Then I saw him in Jimmy and Judy which I found to be ‘Okay’ compared to the movies he had been doing during that time. The movie was entirely shot on a handheld video camera which felt unique to me at that time. Later he went on to marry his co-star Judy played by Rachael Bella after having a serious relationship with her.

still of Edward Furlong the Terminator Boy and Rachael Bella

The Real Life Makeover

All of a sudden I came across The Green Hornet one day, and I almost missed him because he was unrecognizable. There was this cameo where he showed up and I felt so sorry for him watching him struggle to bag a role in a movie. From riches to rags, that’s all I could think about.

I googled him and found him looking utterly disgusting. His teeth were all yellow, he had an obvious podge that disfigured him so much that it was hard to fathom how a man could throw his life away like that.

Rachael Bella had divorced him in 2011 on grounds of irreconcilable differences. He was still a cocaine and heroin addict, doing movies that would always somehow go straight to DVDs.

He was put on 3 years probation when he tried to contact Rachael. Then he was put in jail for violation of probation against his ex-girlfriend Monica Keena. Put away for domestic violence a couple of times, and then arrested again in 2013. So far he has served 61 days in prison!

Wishing Eddie a Revival

Now that I think of it I feel utterly bad for him. Even though I haven’t lived in his shoes, or tasted his life. Somehow deep down I feel I have known him all my life. A life parallel to mine that I tried to imitate at one point. All that coolness however vanished with time, role models changed, fandom moved from one actor to another.

But I would always come back to find him, just to see how he is faring in life. I would often check on him if his movies are doing okay or if he ever made out from that chasm of hell he had inadvertently ended up in.

He had found some ground in Aftermath but then again was quick enough to lose it. I see IMDB flaring up his next projects as The Reunion and Karma. It feels pretty weird when you see him constantly struggle to make a living like that eating whatever comes his way.

Personally, I wish the Terminator Boy all the best. Things could begin to look up for him if he regains his posture, and becomes once again the lad who had it all, and who was loved by all. Our very own child with dreams in his eyes – The Terminator Boy Eddie Furlong!

Ricki and the Flash Review (2015)

Ricki and the Flash has bits of fun, drama and entertainment blended with a lot of musical elements.

There is nothing in this world that Meryl can’t do. In her variegated film roles, she has played almost everything. She has gone grim to witty, to fun, to casual. Every cup of tea is hers. Even at the age of 66 she is so full of energy and she doesn’t fail to deliver. She keeps experimenting with new personas and always ends up creating a new character altogether in every flick she does.

We see another side of her in Ricki and the Flash. She plays a washed-up wannabe rockstar who fails to make it big but apparently walks out on her family. Pete played by Kevin Kline calls her to his home to check on her daughter (real-life too) Mamie Gummer who was going through a hard time. This becomes Ricki’s chance to make amends with her children, and at the same time, buff up and fix things with her current love affair band member Greg played by none other than Rick Springfield himself. The drama is brilliantly helmed by Jonathan Demme, although the tone of the drama is deliberately kept jovial. This makes the melodrama look mediocre. I just wished things to heat up and the mother and daughter bits to blow out of proportion like August: Osage County. But it did not.

But boy can she sing! Meryl performs many different songs in the movie and all her versions are downright brilliant. The song ‘Cold One’ which she performs cozily sitting on a sofa is absolutely marvelous.

There is one thing terribly wrong with the movie though – its editing. There are full songs that have been shoehorned into the flick that makes the movie a tad long. Also, the screenplay doesn’t have much in its basket. The movie also craves for profundity which gets lost owing to the comical theme of the flick.

Apart from that the movie works like a charm, and is one hell of a family flick, which I am sure your parents would love too.