As Deadline Hollywood reports, the first trailer of the upcoming Steven Spielberg directed period drama, “The Post,” is available and can be seen below. The movie, which will be released in selected theaters in December to qualify it for the Oscars before being released wide in January, stars Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and Meryl Streep as the Post’s publisher Katherine Graham. The story is about the struggle in the early 1970s to publish the so-called Pentagon Papers, a series of documents that revealed the American government’s unvarnished assessment of the Vietnam War, one that was wide of its public stance.

Spielberg historical dramas tend to be good vs. evil

Spielberg tends to approach history as a stark battle between good vs. evil. When those lines are widely agreed upon, those films tend to be successful. The Nazis in “Schindler’s List” were wicked in ways that few have managed before or since. Slavery and those who defended it, as depicted in “Lincoln,” were equally abhorrent.

However, the great director flirts with trouble when the lines between good and evil are blurred. Sometimes he pulls it off, as in “Bridge of Spies,” in which a heroic lawyer played by Hanks successfully defends a Soviet spy from the death penalty and then uses him to negotiate a swap with captured U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

Spielberg is helped in his storytelling by the depiction of the spy in question, Rudolf Abel, as a soft-spoken, affable man who was just doing a job for his side. The director was also honest, as Hollywood has not always been, about the barbarity that was the Soviet Empire.

Spielberg failed severely with "Munich," in which he curiously abandoned the good vs.

evil trope and attempted to draw a moral equivalence between the Palestinians terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and the Mossad agents who were hunting them down. He was widely criticized for bending history to fit the narrative and for whitewashing the atrocities of the terrorists.

Which leads us to ‘The Post’

Spielberg has taken upon himself a monumental task, that of depicting journalists as heroes. In a way, “The Post” is a throwback to the 1970s when “All the President’s Men” could show reporters as heroic figures calling a corrupt government to account and be believed. In the modern age of Fake News and blatant political bias, the trope may be a hard sell for audiences. Spielberg is also picking at the scab of Vietnam, something that will likely also unsettle viewers.

He is also likely to ignore a couple of somewhat inconvenient truths. First, the Pentagon Papers revealed lies and prevarications committed primarily during Democratic administrations, especially that of Lyndon Johnson.

Also, the Nixon administration had a real point. Does the media have the right to print government secrets even if they prove to be embarrassing to the government? The point was a fair one and was adjudicated by the Supreme Court, something that will be depicted in the movie. The question arises, with all the star power and talent in the film, will the story be accepted by audiences? Perhaps, perhaps not. However, “The Post” is almost sure to be more Hollywood than history.