Questioning the foundations of Democracy, then and now.

Posted 2018/01/19 637 0

The new movie “The Post”, fully released on 12 January 2018, is a rolling political thriller; jam-packed full of allusions to current issues that beset the world. “The Post” is a serious movie about the foundations of democracy, and yet at the same time, it manages to be wholly rousing. Perhaps this is partially because, although the film is set in the early 1970’s, many of its themes couldn’t be more current.

This new movie follows the circumstances that journalists from The Washington Post and the New York Times found themselves in when they spoke out about the government of the day’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The film is set in the early 1970’s and stars Meryl Streep as Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee. Graham and Bradlee are the protagonists, who used the power of the freedom of speech to publish the ‘Pentagon Papers’. These papers are about the involvement of the United States Government and President John Kennedy, in the Vietnam War. In their day, these two journalists went against the government and exposed a shocking truth. The Pentagon papers revealed that the Harry S.Truman administration gave military aid to aid to France in its colonial war against the communist-led Viet Minh, thus directly involving the United States in Vietnam.

Although the film is set in the 70’s, it comes at an opportune time, given current concerns about freedom of speech and Donald Trump’s administration. The film is directed by the hugely acclaimed Steven Spielberg, who never seems fearful of drawing allusions to the current situation. Donald Trump’s threat that the media should be more responsible on how they report the “news”, seems directly attacked in this film about the importance of freedom of speech, especially journalistic statement. This film shows how attempts to stifle freedom can lead instead to the exposing of facts, and how the behavior of the government, in trying to stifle the truth, flies in the face of one of the most basic of American values, that of free speech.

Even though at its heart, the movie is about democracy, “The Post” never fails to entertain as it rolls along at a rocking speed with a relentless timbre that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. This movie is all about informing “the common people” about the truth and how the truth will always come to the foreground.

“The Post” also touches on how, those among us who are lost in the battlegrounds, are sometimes sacrificed in the name of politics. This theme also “smacks” of some of the plots contained in the controversial and contemporary drama “House of Cards”.

Other topical issues that this powerful historical and political thriller touches on are those of chauvinism and the power of strong women who are prepared to stand up to it. Once again this is a central theme in “House of Cards”.

This powerful new movie will remind viewers of many current concerns. Even though the messages it conveys are compelling and real, the currency of these issues may help viewers to relate to its central themes, leaving time to sit back and instead enjoy the breathtaking pace of the movie, without having to overthink. One thing is for sure, there will be much to talk about at the end!

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