New HBO film reignites old news, makes it cool again
It hits you right in the gut and before you know it the truth of what really happened is a figment of your imagination. You begin to question your loyalty, faithfulness and dedication to this person and realize you might just know someone like this in your life or worse — you are this person.
That is the kind of emotional ride HBO’s new documentary film titled, “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee,” puts you through. Bradlee, one of the most controversial journalists of the 20th century, hits viewers hard with his own pre-recorded audiobook narration in his thick, heavy Bostonian accent.
The archive of footage material from Fidel Castro, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon is as close and personal as it gets and makes you feel like you were standing right there in the 1970s right beside Bradlee as he inspired to change the landscape of breaking news.
The documentary film takes you through the life of Bradlee as a rock and roll writer who wanted more out of life and had a passion to tell any side of a story, even if it meant burning some bridges along the way.
Fifteen minutes into the documentary and the film talks about how charming Bradlee was with women, according to the New York Times.
By age 30, he was travelling the world while trying to hold a job as a court beat writer in Washington D.C.
Bradlee never strayed away from controversy and his friendship with Kennedy paved the way to be a politician’s nightmare during Nixon’s tenure and ignited the Watergate scandal.
The film highlights Nixon’s bitterness in losing to Kennedy in elections, but it was Bradlee’s swift and aggressive tactics as an editor at the Washington Post that made various controversial documents available to the American people through publication, according to Paste Magazine.
Bradlee tangled with the government and never shied away expressing himself and wanted to live a glamorous lifestyle.
Journalism gave him that opportunity as one of his better friends, Jim Lehrer, at the Washington Post said, “he was the luckiest son of a bitch in the world.”
Tom Brokaw is in the film, along with other writers from the Washington post and New York Times, but it is the triumph-tragedy life of Bradlee that reels the viewer into his journalist life.
The documentary illustrates Bradlee was given the world to him as a journalist through travelling and his passion for writing stories that would make readers say, “Oh wow.”
He single-handedly revolutionized the Washington Post but it was Bradlee’s alliances and devotion to Kennedy that makes you question every dirty little secret someone has ever told you and then you were left to make a choice.
Should you stay quiet or run and tell someone the gossip?
Bradlee ran and told the people what they were entitled to know in a simpler time but lied in a world of deceitful men and he did not care who he pissed off which ultimately highlighted what a conniving journalist might ask themselves when they get too close to someone: Are you a friend, or are you a reporter?
It is a choice many aspiring journalists don’t make, yet Bradlee lived for it.