The Report (2019)

the report poster 2019 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Feels real and pretty close to actual events

Low key style is feels accurate but isn't always compelling

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Report

Studio: VICE Studio

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s):  January 26, 2019 (Sundance)/November 15, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

the report adam driver

These are the scripts I need to read this year

Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked with investigating reports of CIA torture following 9-11.  With his critical report growing longer and longer, Jones finds himself the target of the CIA and discovers that he could be the one in danger of facing jail time.  With Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) backing his research, Jones finds the battle could be on!

Directed by Scott Z. Burns, The Report is a historical political thriller.  The movie premiered at Sundance and received positive reviews.  The film received a brief theatrical run and premiered on Amazon on November 29, 2019.

I can remember the whole scandal coming out, the waterboarding, and talk of cover-ups, but I didn’t really investigate the whole thing.  Referenced in the movie was the “glory” of Zero Dark Thirty which promoted waterboarding and torture for information, and it is interesting to see more of the story behind the headlines.  The Report is frustrating and kind of scary.

the report adam driver annette benning

So….can you just publish this thing and get it over with?

The structure of the movie sometimes is a bit confusing.  Driver’s character and his research sometimes throws to flashbacks of events occurring during the torture aspects but it sometimes was tough to realize it was a flashback.  It does an interesting job mixing movie and footage to tell this story though it has a lot of lairs and technical jargon that can be difficult to follow.  A lot of films completely fictionalize events, but from what I’ve seen, The Report does a pretty solid job of telling the story (which is dramatic enough to not need “more drama”).

The cast is good.  I’ve always found Adam Driver a bit odd and I can totally see him as a government agent working in an office (I don’t know if that is a compliment).  Annette Benning does a good job as Senator Feinstein who is walking the fine line between being “patriotic” for her voters and doing the right thing.  The movie has a ton of supporting actors including Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Corey Stoll, Matthew Rhys, Ben McKenzie, and Maura Tierny (as “Bernadette” who is essentially a stand in for current CIA leader Gina Haspel).

the report adam driver daniel jones

The sky is gray…like my soul

The movie isn’t flashy.  A lot of it is office work which is hard to make compelling.  There are some rather graphic depictions of the torture being enacted on prisoners which is hard to watch, but it is also necessary to understand what was deemed “acceptable” means of getting information.

Torture has never been proven to yield reliable information.  Study after study shows that but it is still waved as a “protect the US at any cost” method to fight terrorism.  The actions don’t really seem to get people anywhere, and it just makes you look bad as a society…plus, it opens yourself up for worse actions or worse actions to be taken on your own people by enemies.  The Report is a good reminder that the government works for us and that we don’t work for the government…we can always be better.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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