• It’s a top-notch intelligent screenplay and clearly Spielberg has hired two of the best to lead the cast (and the ensemble is very good as well)—but his choice to put this film on a dolly and have tracking shots throughout really gives it the energy and urgency that takes the film to another level. It’s as if Spielberg said “this will not be some stuffy history lesson” and although there are some small problems (a scene I’ll get to later, some messaging and speech-making) the aesthetic choice here with the moving camera has the desired effect
  • Stylistically it is favorable to 2015’s spotlight but falls short Pakula’s atmospherics and pending doom through architecture and mise-en-scene (not to mention the darkness of Gordon Wills’ lens) in all the president’s men
  • How about the year Stuhlbarg is having? This is the least of his three roles but he’s had this, call me by your name (his best), and the shape of water– perhaps three of the top 10 films

  • It’s the first film in my archives since doubt in 2008 for Streep. She’s superb. Several highlights throughout but amongst them is the scene where he says she doesn’t want to let her family down. Powerful. She’s even more of a central figure than Hanks’ Ben Bradlee with his feet on the table and ears. There’s an ongoing motif (both visual and in the screenplay) of Streep juxtaposed with other women and in being in the same room with all men. It’s strong stuff (Paulson’s speech is good for a film making a speech about a message). My biggest beef with the film is the one scene of Streep leaving the courthouse with the sun shining on her and all the women staring at her in awe. It smacks of self-importance and ruins a good scene. There’s enough reverence we, as the audience, will bring to the table for these all-time great and film titans (Spielberg, hanks and Streep)—we don’t need Spielberg to do it for us. It doesn’t run the risk of ruining the film (like the bullshit optomistic ending of minority report does) but still.
  • Not that he needed a second act (we may be on act 3 or 4 now) but Spielberg is putting together quite an impressive American History or Social Studies oeuvre here. I mean he really always has going back to Amistad and of course Schindler’s list) but that’s bolstered with three archiveable films this decade in this vein (Lincoln, bridge of spies)
  • Worth noting that although they are all superb here this is far from the best work of Spielberg, Streep and Hanks but I still found myself awed by their awesome achievement (both here and in their careers). Glad they worked together
  • R/HR border for now