Combustible Celluloid
With: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Morrison, Tim Blake Nelson, Ben McKenzie, Matthew Rhys, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Maura Tierney, Sarah Goldberg, Corey Stoll
Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Directed by: Scott Z. Burns
MPAA Rating: R for some scenes of inhumane treatment and torture, and language
Running Time: 119
Date: 11/15/2019

The Report (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Paper Gale

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Essentially a movie about people in suits sitting in offices, staring at computers, and talking to each other, this based-on-real-events drama somehow eventually gathers up enough tension to click.

In The Report, staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), working under Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening), is assigned to head an investigation into CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on terrorist suspects following September 11, 2001.

After years of relentless study, Jones confirms that these techniques were nothing short of brutal torture, and that they resulted in no useful information whatsoever. He also finds that the CIA were deliberately misrepresenting their data. He compiles a massive report, but when it comes time to publish, he finds that CIA is not so eager to have this information out in the open.

Written and directed by Scott Z. Burns, who previously wrote The Informant!, Contagion, and Side Effects, The Report opens tentatively, with a flash-forward to show that Jones may be in serious trouble, before heading back to its natural beginning, a rather static series of scenes in which everything is introduced — including Jones's depressing, windowless office — and the rules are laid down.

But at some point during the movie's two hours, it begins to crackle. Perhaps it's because of the shockingly awful recent events, or because of the righteous anger over the blatant wrongdoing. Perhaps it's the thrill of seeing Jones getting a much-needed breakthrough, such as a secret Deep Throat-style meeting with a man (Tim Blake Nelson), sick with guilt and terrified, who worked for the program as a "doctor."

Or perhaps it's Driver's performance, obsessive and creating a forward momentum. Certainly Bening's performance as Senator Feinstein is a skillful treat. Certainly The Report is worth seeing for anyone interested in true political stories.

CD Universe
Movies Unlimtied