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1971: Katharine "Kay" Graham (Meryl Streep) is under a lot of pressure. Not only is she the first female newspaper publisher in the USA to face enormous difficulties in a male-dominated world. In addition, their "Washington Post" is about to go public. There must be no scandals or turbulence now. But it is precisely in this situation that editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) wants to report on an alleged cover-up scandal in the White House in which no less than four presidents seem to be involved. The whole thing triggers a fight for freedom of the press, which makes waves all over the country. Kay now has to decide whether she will jeopardize the financial future of her publishing house and oppose the US government - a decision that will make history…
The publication of the so-called "Pentagon Papers" was one of the biggest political scandals in the USA, along with the Watergate affair that emerged only a short time later. Steven Spielberg has portrayed the events in his latest film "Die Verlegerin". But even though his drama actually only traces the events of the early seventies, the film has not become a political history lesson, but an extremely topical film about freedom of the press and the importance of journalistic research. In times when reporters are under enormous pressure to publish a story as quickly as possible, what is shown here seems almost unimaginable. And the really important things that the newspapers achieved in those days are now in danger of being completely destroyed by terms like "fake news".
And that's exactly why Spielberg's film comes at just the right time. It shows how important it is to uncover and hold governments accountable for misconduct. All this now sounds like a lot of morality, masterful, dry and served with a raised index finger. Not at all! Spielberg wouldn't be Spielberg if he hadn't managed to work up such a material in a rousing, clever and very entertaining way. Yeah, it's actually just talk all the time. You can't find action around here. But the dialogues are not only well written, they are also brought to life by a phenomenal cast. That Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are great doesn't really have to be mentioned. But their interplay gives the whole thing a very special touch, which makes sure that the scenes with Kay and Ben become a celebration for all lovers of great American acting cinema.
In addition, Spielberg once again proves to be a master of conducting simple dialogue scenes into something very special. Every movement, every camera panning, every cut is perfectly thought through and part of a masterfully assembled whole. It doesn't take aliens or dinosaurs to amaze the audience. "The Publisher" is a must for anyone who appreciates Hollywood's sophisticated entertainment cinema. A stirring declaration of love to a perhaps bygone era of journalism, but at the same time a brand-new appeal for freedom of the press. Played great and staged great as usual by Steven Spielberg there is only one conclusion: Absolutely worth seeing!
And another tip: The closing sequence is the perfect transition to the classic "The Incorruptible", which you should definitely watch again after going to the cinema.
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