by Soma Brodhun
Basically: A timely, riveting thriller about the U.S. Senate investigation into the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques in the aftermath
The Report plays like a sleek smart spy movie…which is a big accomplishment given the filmmakers had the difficult task of dramatizing the long, grinding five-year investigation by a small team of Senate staffers under the direction of Senator Diane Feinstein (played with nuance and grace by Annette Benning), chair of the Senate’s select committee on intelligence.
This movie isn’t afraid to show you its heart. It also doesn’t shy away from its subject matter. The Report seamlessly flips back and forth from the distant to the near past with flashbacks that are both brutal and poignant, helping to ratchet up the tension and give the investigators purpose and credibility. They are fighting the good fight and trying to uncover more “inconvenient truths” in order to hold our government accountable.
Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios
The Senate’s exhaustive investigation culminated in the release of The (Torture) Report, which rebuked the assertion by the CIA that the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques they utilized, on over one hundred detainees, led to unique intel that was vital to our national security. Techniques that included sleep-deprivation, beatings, and waterboarding.
This movie was written, directed, and produced by Scott Z. Burns (screenwriter for The Bourne Ultimatum and producer of An Inconvenient Truth). The talented Adam Driver plays Dan Jones as a deliberate and intense FBI agent turned crusader for the truth. It is through his eyes that the audience takes in all of the evidence and justifications and weigh them in order to make their own determinations on the moral questions raised.
In the End: If you like intelligent political thrillers and spy movies, go see it! (And shout out to Adam Driver for making research look sexy!)