The Pentagon Papers Are Hotter Than Robert Pattinson


Well, maybe not–but the secret government papers that caused a freedom of the press firestorm in 1971 are the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary (The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers) and now a play called Top Secret: The Battle For The Pentagon Papers at New York Theatre Workshop.

I think the fact that the papers uncovered some of the real reasons for entering Viet Nam makes them extremely relevant in the Iraq era.

And in the wake of Frost/Nixon, we’re extra caught up in Tricky Dick’s foul-mouthed, shady, but charismatic allure.

In this case, the movie–which is pretty riveting–is better than the play, which comes off a little flat.

The latter has actors holding scripts and lined up at mics as they play Washington Post staffers deciding whether publishing the papers is the way to go.

Then, in Act Two, they act out the trial that decided they had every right to do so.

The problem is that some of the acting is very surfacey and overall, the docudrama approach is less than magical. The result comes off rather sub-Watergate.

But by the end, there’s some punch, especially since one of the journos still feels maybe some documents SHOULD be top secret!

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