In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
Kristin Scott Thomas
12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.
When American military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg, realizes to his disgust the depths of the US government's deceptions about the futility of the Vietnam War, he takes action by copying top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. Later, Washington Post owner, Kay Graham, is still adjusting to taking over her late husband's business when editor Ben Bradlee discovers the New York Times has scooped them with an explosive expose on those papers. Determined to compete, Post reporters find Ellsberg himself and a complete copy of those papers. However, the Post's plans to publish their findings are put in jeopardy with a Federal restraining order that could get them all indicted for Contempt. Now, Kay Graham must decide whether to back down for the safety of her paper or publish and fight for the Freedom of the Press. In doing so, Graham and her staff join a fight that would have America's democratic ideals in the balance. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Spielberg's new drama about the controversial publication of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post and New York Times is a well-made and entertaining, albeit not perfect, film. Tom Hanks gives a thorough and enjoyable performance as Ben Bradlee, but it is Meryl Streep who truly stands out in the cast here through her role as Kay Graham. Bob Odenkirk's supporting role is also noteworthy in a very positive sense.
The film is thoroughly gripping, although it sometimes feels paced slightly clumsily through omissions of details that could have been better to include as Spielberg presents the audience with the turbulent politics of the Vietnam era that lead to the intense legal and ideological controversies surrounding the Pentagon Papers. Additionally, a rushed--albeit still very enjoyable--third act makes the viewer feel that the film's running time is a bit too short. The film is an enjoyable watch in a way that other journalism films like "All The President's Men" and "Spotlight"--while better films overall for sure--are not, but its tone is handled well throughout. If Spielberg's dramas have taught me one thing, it's that he clearly knows how to let a specific tone manifest itself throughout the course of a narrative and do that well. The film contains a few moments that feel a bit 'meh' (a very clichéd rather than powerful discussion of the importance of freedom of the press in the second half is one.) While it has neither the high emotional stakes and dramatic tension of "Bridge of Spies" or the clockwork precision of "Lincoln," it is still a very well-acted and entertaining film that I do recommend. 7/10
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