The Report: LFF Film Review

Adam Driver is having quite the year, isn’t he? He is appearing in four 2019 movies and he is just amazing in each one (I’m assuming with Star Wars), and he doesn’t disappoint in The Report – also known as The Torture Report.

The film follows the real-life Daniel J. Jones (Driver), a member of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee, as he spends years investigating the enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) – or simply put, torture techniques – the CIA used to gain information (although they actually didn’t) from Al-Qaeda terror suspects in the wake of 9/11. The CIA ban any staff from speaking to Jones so he and his team spend five years sifting through paperwork and memos – bringing his findings to Senate Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) in the process – only to spend a few more years battling to get the report released publicly.

This movie mostly follows Jones’ investigative work but then plays out his findings in the form of flashbacks to show how the CIA bosses – led by Maura Tierney and Michael C. Hall – made these decisions and hired contractors to carry out these interrogation techniques. Eventually, we also get to see the torture tactics in action at the CIA black sites and it makes for deeply uncomfortable and unpleasant viewing. Anyone who has seen Zero Dark Thirty will have seen this before and The Report even acknowledges this.

Zero Dark Thirty focused on the action and the mission to find Osama Bin Laden while The Report is dialogue-heavy and focused on politics and bureaucracy. I had no idea one person spent so long looking into this before having to spend more years fighting the CIA tooth and nail to get it published so I’m glad Scott Z Burns has made this film so Jones gets the recognition he deserves.

Driver just keeps putting in A+ performance after A+ performance. I didn’t care for The Dead Don’t Die but he was still excellent and he has to get an Oscar nomination for Marriage Story. His role here is less showy but still top-notch. Bening is another strong addition as the fearless team leader, as is Jon Hamm as Denis, Obama’s chief of staff, and Corey Stoll as Jones’ lawyer Cyrus.

The Report is a gripping, enlightening and powerful film. You won’t be disappointed.

Showing at the 2019 London Film Festival. In cinemas 15th November.

Rating: 4/5

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