THE full “redacted” title of The Report is The Torture Report; much like these two titles there is an initial dryness to this film’s execution that then gets flipped on its head as the shocking facts of the story unfold.
The film is based on the true story of Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) who is tasked by senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program in the years after 9/11.
He and a team of both Democrat and Republican staffers are given a basement room and over several years go through countless documents detailing the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, ie torture.
When they attempt to publish their findings, the CIA and the White House try various methods to block the report from ever seeing the light of day.
Meanwhile, Jones becomes obsessed with the report, deeply affected by the horrific things he is reading yet determined they will not be covered up any longer and that the American people will know the truth.
This film contains, as you would expect, a lot of people in rooms of government buildings talking to each.
But flashbacks to scenes of the torture are so confronting it makes you glad when the film goes back to being merely conversations about these horrific acts.
The Report knows the story it has to tell is so compelling it does not need flashy film techniques or character backstories to draw us in, it simply needs to show what happened.
Driver is the perfect conduit for this story; he draws us into a very wordy script by a very human performance reminding us that through all the political jargon, at the centre is a story about how we should treat other human beings regardless of whether we think they are our “enemy”.
The Report (CTC)
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Starring: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm
Screening at Luna Leederville November 14-17 and on Amazon Prime Video from November 29