Long. Talky. Dark interiors. The President often looked grubby, sick, confused, unkempt, cold. So did the other major characters. Their collective behaviour was, variously, manipulative, irrational, duplicitous, cynical, bullying, devious and venal. Principled action proceeded by dirty byways. So far, I loved it. The players walked on, immediately replete with personal qualities, previous experience and long-formed relationships, some of which you were allowed to work out for yourself. I loved it even more. Major hurrahs for Lewis, Field, Jones and Strathairn, and the creative team behind them.
I’m afraid that Spielberg only gets one and a half cheers, though. As a matter of personal preference, I wish he would stop before the dénouement and the heavenly choir (well, heavenly strings). It would be so much more interesting like that. And I longed to say to him, very slowly and clearly, that, if he’s made a good film (which he has)
But I don’t think he would get it.