‘The Report‘ couldn’t get made at a better time. With everything happening in today’s American and global political climate, it shows how little the general public actually is allowed to know about whatever happens within the borders of their government buildings. An entire country is at stake when secrets come out, that shouldn’t have been secrets in the first place when laws get executed correctly.
Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), gets tasked by his boss, Senator of California Diane Feinstein (Annette Bening), to lead an investigation into the CIA’s post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program. Jones’ relentless pursuit of the truth leads to findings that uncover the lengths to which the nation’s top intelligence agency went to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and hide a shocking secret from the American public.
Scott Z. Burns hasn’t directed a feature length film since 2006’s ‘Pu-239‘. Having previously written films such as, ‘The Laundromat‘, ‘Side Effects‘ and ‘Contagion‘, it seems he has a very good work relationship with this films’ producer Steven Soderbergh (director of last named films). With ‘The Report‘ he knows what he’s going for and doesn’t hold back on any occasion. The story goes off like a missile, and only slows down when hitting its target at the finish line. That might be a challenge for some viewers, but the suspense throughout the second and third act is rare and delivers what political polymaths are looking for. To those who aren’t particularly interested in politics and cover-ups, this might be a tough one to sit through.
Adam Driver, is truly on a roll these last couple of years. With two more films on the horizon in the last two months of 2019 (‘Marriage Story‘ and ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘), it seems there’s no stopping him in becoming one of the most talented actors of this generation. He shows just how focused and career driven he is as his character Daniel J. Jones. He’s unsurpassed and will definitely get recognition for his hard work coming awards season.
What plays like a political ‘Social Network‘, could’ve benefited from a rewrite by Aaron Sorkin, just to streamline it a bit more. The dialogues are heavy and littered with dark humour, but without any real character development, it misses the opportunity to make the audience connect with anyone on a deeper level. You never get to look behind the suits into their homes. The mental struggles of being accused of whistleblowing and torturing people, must take its toll on politicians and CIA-agents, no? We get little hints at their personal lives when being interrogated by government officials, but this is all just small talk. It does go without saying, Greg O’Bryant deserves much praise for editing this film. I wonder how long the rough cut must’ve been.
There’s a wide range of well known actors passing by as fundamental characters in the big scheme of things. Annette Bening, brilliant actor taking on the full look and characteristics of Senator Feinstein, doesn’t have many explosive scenes to wow, but is subtly captivating. Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm, Maura Tierney and Michael C. Hall all have important parts to keep things moving, but with the little amount of screen time fail to impress with anything more than acceptable.
Burns‘ ‘The Report‘ is an important watch, delivering facts in a striking manner. It’s worth watching for Driver’s performance alone, observing a man who loves doing his job and excels at it. A history lesson in American politics and terrorism with a little dig at propaganda filmmaking and journalism, and a big spotlight on the CIA’s misconduct.
Review – ‘The Report’
Reviewed at Sony Pictures Theatrette, Sydney, Oct. 29, 2019. Australian Classification: TBC. Running time: 119 min.
PRODUCTION: A Transmission Films release of an Amazon Studios presentation of a Topic Studios, Margin of Error, Unbranded Pictures, Vice Media production. Producers: Scott Z. Burns, Jennifer Fox, Danny Gabai, Eddy Moretti, Kerry Orent, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Sugar. Executive producers: Michael Di Verdi, Vincent Landay, Tj Rinomato, Lila Yacoub. Co-producer: Jennifer Semler. Associate producers: Hannah Mescon, Sara Miller, Ashley Peter.
CREW: Director, writer: Scott Z. Burns. Camera (color, widescreen): Eigil Bryld. Editor: Greg O’Bryant. Music: David Wingo.
WITH: Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm, Linda Powell, Annette Bening, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall, Evander Duck Jr., John Rothman, Victor Slezak, Guy Boyd, Alexander Chaplin, Joanne Tucker.