The Report (2019) – Review

The Report hits theaters on November 15, and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on November 29.

By Elazar Abrahams

In the mid-2000s, a Congressional investigation into the CIA’s post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program uncovered shocking secrets. The agency had been using brutal torture methods on suspected terrorists to get them to spill information. Even worse, they knew this “enhanced interrogation” didn’t work and wasn’t providing results, but the CIA continued to implement these illegal procedures. In The Report, this true story is told through the eyes of idealistic Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver), who leads the investigation.

In unflinchingly brutal detail, the movie is told almost like a report itself. The filmmakers don’t shy away from placing blame on both the Bush and Obama administrations. No expense is spared in showing waterboarding and other horrid actions. I’d compare it to Spotlight, another upsetting but well-made movie.

Because the investigation hits many roadblocks (conflict!) the plot spans many years. That means we don’t get to stay put any point for very long and perhaps due to this, you can’t really connect with the characters. It’s not a huge problem – they’re only there as vehicles to learn about the investigation – but it does make The Report quite boring at times.

Without a doubt, the best part of The Report is amazing performances. If you haven’t realized by now, Adam Driver is a great, great, great actor. Corey Stoll is serviceable. Michael C Hall is villainous. It was cool to see Sarah Goldberg from Barry in a minor role. And as always, I love me some Jon Hamm.

Many critics have been raving about Annette Benning as Senator Diane Feinstein but I actually thought her scenes were the weakest in the movie. She just checks in with Driver every so often and repeats what the audience already knows. “Are you saying that the CIA is trying to keep the records secret?” Yup, thank you, Senator.

This is such an important film, but it’s not fun in the slightest. I recommend checking it out on streaming.

I give The Report a B-.

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