Despite the extraordinary pedigree behind this movie – which includes being based on a fascinating real-life story, direction by Steven Spielberg, and lead roles by Hollywood royalty like Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep – nothing seems to work. The visual presentation is flat and lifeless, the dialogue is stiff and neutral, and the acting is negligible. It’s particular jarring that Streep was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this, as there’s just about nothing for her to do other than look stoically concerned, while Hanks strolls through the movie’s narrative like he’s on a break from a different, better movie. At the movie’s halfway point, it feels like it’s already been on for hours, and it’s surprising that Spielberg is unable to ferment any good will or appropriately develop any suspense or drama for what should be an important feature, especially at this point in the history of the United States and its relationship with the free press. At best, this is what happens when Hollywood decides to make an Important Movie but neglects to give the audience a reason to care about it.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)