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Characters speak across office desks and restaurant dining tables as Janusz Kaminski’s camera lackadaisically encircles them in what could be Steve Spielberg’s stagiest work to date. And not since 1941 has the director slathered on the comic relief with such a leaden hand. Meryl Streep is superb as usual playing publisher Katharine Graham while the generally reliable Tom Hanks yanks at, but can’t quite get a firm grip on Ben Bradlee’s Boston accent. The filmmakers can’t resist belaboring the topicality. While the Trump allusions are inevitable, did novice screenwriters/brick-throwers Liz Hannah and Josh Singer have to include the word “collusion”? Why not tag as “fake news” the injunction sought by the Justice Department against “The New York Times”? We end at the Watergate Hotel, which makes this a prequel of sorts to Alan J. Pakula’s All the President’s Men, a film Spielberg can only aspire to. 2017.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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