- 22 Nov 19
Gripping political drama about CIA's use of torture after 9/11
In The Report, Adam Driver stars as Daniel J. Jones, a staff member of the US Select Committee on Intelligence, who leads an investigation into the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the aftermath of 9/11. Jones spent five years combing through 6.3 million pages of documents to uncover the truth – but one moment is particularly telling.
Jones finds consistent evidence that these “techniques” were simply torture, designed by a psychologist with no background in interrogation. After being beaten, humiliated, waterboarded and more, prisoners still didn’t give up any new or useful information. The CIA quickly realised this torture was ineffective but continued to lie about its efficacy. However, in one scene, a TV presenter talks about the Oscar buzz around Katheryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty – a film that suggested torture provided early clues to the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. In America, theatre and spectacle are prioritised over reality.
Scott Z. Burns’ film is a tense blend of morality and drama. He brilliantly jumps from Senate hearings to torture sessions, to private meetings between politicians, and back to Jones – showing each cog in the machine. But the information never comes at the expense of emotion or psychological exploration.
Driver is sublime as Jones, a fact-driven man increasingly obsessed by his work, as well as the cover-ups and corruption that prevent his report from being released.
In an era where important questions are being asked about transparency, accountability and how those who speak truth to power are treated, The Report is authentic, enraging and riveting thriller.