THE REPORT (AMAZON PRIME) (2019)
SYNOPSIS: The Report is a riveting thriller based on actual events. Idealistic staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked by his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which was created in the aftermath of 9/11. Jones’ relentless pursuit of the truth leads to explosive findings that uncover the lengths to which the nation’s top intelligence agency went to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and hide a brutal secret from the American public.
Steven Soderbergh’s frequent collaborator, writer and director Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects, Contagion) joined forces with actor Adam Driver in this talky yet gripping political drama which covers a 6700 pages report that detailed the CIA’s use of EITs (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques) on suspects after the September 11 attacks.
Tasked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (a brilliant Annette Bening) of the Senate Intelligence committee, Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Driver) and a small group of people have to sort through millions of documents in a windowless room at the CIA to investigate the CIA’s EIT program. Instead of a planned couple of months, Jones took a total of five years to piece together the puzzle. But even with the end of the report, the CIA and the White House are determined to find ways to stop the truth from ever coming out for public access.
Burns expertly employed the use of flashbacks to showcase how the CIA and their team brutally abused their power in an excuse to save American lives. In their own words, preventing future attacks. Unfortunately and laughingly after millions of taxpayers money spent, no critical information are being extracted from the suspects over the years. The so-called contractors or psychologists employed by the CIA are nothing but self-proclaimed scientists who relied heavily on torture methods liked waterboarding and sleep deprivation in an attempt to retrieve the truth. Not exactly complimentary coming out from a first-world country liked America isn’t it.
It’s definitely not an easy task to follow The Report if you are not in a correct state of mind. Burn’s script is very much focused on Jones and the assignment on hand. There are no unnecessary subplots involving Jones’ private life or anything else on Senator Feinstein. Heck, there is not even one single shot fired or a dark secretive attempt to silence Jones. What we have are lots of dialogue, arguments and talking heads in every minute of the movie. Not exactly 6700 pages of them but the end result should be close.
Most probably knows Driver as the two dimensional villain, Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars movies. In actual fact, he is one hell of an actor that commands much screen presence, putting in a compelling performance without the use of a lightsabre or a pistol. For a character whose biggest trait is using Microsoft Word, Jones certainly has your attention throughout. Familiar faces appeared throughout the movie including Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Ted Levine, Ben McKenzie, Carey Stoll, Matthew Rhys and Jon Hamm as Obama’s Chief-In-Staff probably as a favour to producer Steven Soderbergh.
The Report is a fact-based investigative political drama that investigates the increasing ugly truth of the political world and the atrociously incompetent running of an once respected organization liked the CIA. Everyone wants to draw blood and information but no one seems to know the correct way to do so. The revelations are earth-shattering and for sure, thought-revoking. Be prepare for a wealth of information coming your way because Burns has done his homework and he wants you to pore over it.
Review by Linus Tee