THE search for truth and justice is often glamourised in films.

But Steven Spielberg’s The Post shows what was really at stake when The Washington Post exposed the futility of the Vietnam War and a devastating cover-up spanning four US presidents.

The director turns the true story about the exposed ‘Pentagon Papers’ into a thrilling reminder of the media’s role to be a check and balance on those in power.

Spielberg sets the scene perfectly of a 1970s newsroom with the clatter of typewriters and the constant trill of ringing phones.

It goes some way in showing what makes journalists tick in terms of scooping other papers and the hunger for exclusives but also the fight for truth.

This principle was tested to the limit when government secrets – 4,000 pages of them – fall into the newspaper’s hands.

The secret documents were first exposed, in part, by The New York Times.

But after an injunction stops The Times in its tracks, The Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and owner Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) must decide whether to risk the paper’s future, their careers and even their freedom if they publish.

Branded as ‘treason’ by the Nixon administration, it became a testing ground for the freedom of the press and America’s democratic ideals.

There has also been a lot of praise for the film’s all-star cast led by Hanks and Streep and it is justified.

Hanks’ Ben Bradlee is a ballsy leader who feels duty bound to expose the government while Streep’s Katharine Graham is still adjusting to her late husband’s business in a man’s world and is meek until she finds her voice at this critical moment.

Following other compelling investigative newsroom films like All The President’s Men and Spotlight, The Post is as well paced and well written as it is inspiring.

And in an era when the current presidency is as divisive as ever and unflattering reports are branded as ‘fake news’, the film is a timely reminder of the importance of a free press.

RATING: 8.5/10