Secrets, Words and Ambitions.
Modern day history does not come more keen than the impeachment of a President of the U.S.A. Director Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, Saving Private Ryan) takes this historical milestone that saw the US press (primarily The Washington Post) challenge it’s right to publish what they believe is in the nations interest.
The U.S.A. have been embroiled in the Vietnam War since 1955. It is now 1966 and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Star Trek into Darkness) has made a tour with the troops in Vietnam accompanied by State Department military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys, The Abduction Club) who is documenting the progress of U.S. military activities. On the plane home McNamara is asked the operation is going?
“The war in Vietnam is hopeless.”
But on his return to the States McNamara tells the press he has every confidence in the war effort. This surprises Ellsberg who becomes disillusioned with the whole lying of the previous governments and the present administration.
Years later while working for the Rand Corporation he takes his revenge and photo copies the classified reports going back to 1955. It is now 1971 and something is about to rock the U.S.A.
At the struggling Washington Post the new owner and publisher Kay Graham (Meryl Streep, August: Osage County, The Devil Wears Prada, Out of Africa) has a meeting with seasoned editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks, Splash, Dragnet, Big, Philadelphia, Apollo 13). Graham is at odds with her new position after her husband had his ‘Accident’ and the fact that they are going to float the paper on the stock-market to raise funds for better reporters. She needs backing from the bankers who see the Post as just a local paper unlike The New York Times which is seen as a global brand.
Back at the Post they are wondering where to find the next big scoop, but what Badllee is wondering is what Ellsberg is up to as he hasn’t posted anything in quite a while, so he sends a runner to find out what the Times is doing. He doesn’t find Ellsberg but he does get to see tomorrows front page mock-up and it looks like something big is coming.
When the Times paper hits the street the next morning Bradlee and his crew are there to see the headlines and it shakes the country to the core. Where did this come from? How did they get their hands on top secret information. and how can the Post get their hands on it?
The Post is the perfect platform for Streep and Hanks to show their acting skills and portray the life of a newspaper in the two weeks that shook a nation.