Hannah undertook “The Post” as a tribute to Graham, who bankrolled the Post at a time when the family-owned paper wasn’t even No. 1 in Washington, D.C. Spielberg takes pains to lay the groundwork for that part of the story. The film begins in 1966, with Defense Department contractor Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) in Vietnam with his typewriter, caught in a jungle ambush and then writing up his report on the war’s progress, or lack of it. On a flight back to D.C., Ellsberg confers with Defense Secretary McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), who expresses deep frustration with the war in private but keeps it all smiles and dodgy optimism in public. In the movie’s swift shorthand, this is why Ellsberg leaked a copy of the Pentagon Pages to The New York Times and, then, to his friend and former colleague at the Post, national editor Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk, a wry ensemble standout).