The Report – Film Review
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Stars: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
You can picture the movie pitch to the producers of this film. ‘It’s this year’s Spotlight or All the President’s Men. It’s perfect Oscar bait’. While it does have a similar style to those mentioned, the subject matter doesn’t have quite the same impact, possibly as no one is that surprised the CIA have tortured people?
Daniel J. Jones (Driver) is part of a small team commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee to write a report on the CIA’s use of torture or EIT (enhanced interrogation techniques) during their investigations following 9/11. He is given a room in the depths of the CIA’s offices to carry out this task, along with limited access to their hard drives and emails. He starts the monumental task of compiling this document from the massive amount of information available, but as he delves deeper, he starts to meet resistance from a variety of sources.
This is a docu-drama written and directed by Scott Z. Burns. To this point, Burns was known as a writer and producer, although he previously directed some shorts and a TV mini-series (The View from Here). He has assembled an impressive cast for this film, including Annette Bening, Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Tim Blake Nelson along with Adam Driver in the main role.
As you would expect for a film on this topic, there are some scenes recreating the torture that was carried out and it does make for difficult viewing. It is not a major part of the plot, however, and there are only fleeting images.
With films of this type, it is often difficult to add drama to what is effectively a film about well-known events. The painstaking investigations into who said what and when does not make for good viewing! Instead, the film focuses on the attempts by various bodies to quash the report and the fears it would never see the light of day. Driver is quite compelling in the main role and carries the film. It’s just a pity there wasn’t a few more twists and turns to add to the complexity of the tale.