The Report

report2Adam Driver- strikes me he’s the Disney Star Wars equivalent of the prequel trilogy’s Natalie Portman: an actor far better than the Star Wars saga (and risible scripts/dialogue) deserved and whose talent thankfully ensures a career in film in the future, leaving that galaxy far, far away way back in the rear-view mirror. I’m writing that as a fan of those Star Wars films too: really, with actors like that in them, the Star Wars films really should have been so much more.

So The Report– well, this is the kind of film that I find deeply fascinating and worthy, but which always sends me into a depressed funk about the state of the world and how horrible and duplicitous politics and positions of power can be. It joins a list of films like Spotlight, The Parallax View, Missing, The China Syndrome, JFK, All The Presidents Men, and many others, films examining the noirish world that we are living in. Some of the films are based on fact, some are fiction, but nonetheless sobering reminders of the shades of grey that obscure the black and white, right and wrong that we would like to think are sacrosanct and immutable but clearly aren’t.

With a mouth-watering cast that includes Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Michael C Hall, Ted Levine and Corey Stoll,  The Report is an ice-cold thriller in which idealistic Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is tasked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program which operated  following the terrorist attack of 9/11. Jones leads a small team which uncovers over a six-year inquiry, the  lengths to which the nation’s top intelligence agency went to destroy evidence, subvert the law, and escape oversight and justice into its methods of torture when interrogating suspects. The film is a little stodgy at the start, taking a little while to get going, but soon becomes riveting stuff. In just the same way as I felt after watching Spotlight, its so refreshing to see a film like this, harking back to the halcyon days of 1970s American Cinema, one without any Hollywood hysterics and drama. The performances are great, thankfully understated and nuanced, and once the start of the film is out of the way, the narrative moves fluidly and really does fascinate. The characters ultimately sit behind the events themselves and the grim facts brought forward. I thought this was a great, thought-provoking (if somewhat depressing) film.

One further observation: its almost a pity that this film is up on Amazon Prime (as its a Amazon Studios film) and therefore as far as I’m aware unlikely to appear on disc. In the old Golden Days of DVD, this kind of film would appear on disc with all sorts of featurettes, docs and perhaps commentary track to further debate and expand upon the films subject. In this brave new world of streaming, we get the film and that’s it, nothing more. Oh well, time to get Old School and read books or something…

The Report is currently showing on Amazon Prime.

4 thoughts on “The Report

  1. Argh, this reminds me I never got round to reviewing this properly (it got a paragraph in my best-of-year post, at least). But I agree with your review entirely. I don’t know why Amazon didn’t give this more of a push in awards season, because I think it was deserving. Maybe they were wary of the politics of it, given the current landscape in America.

    For some reason I didn’t like Adam Driver at first… probably just because he was in Girls, to be honest… but I’ve warmed to him a lot. For instance, he’s the only reason Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die is even vaguely worth watching — and as that film counts the great Bill Murray among its cast, that’s saying something.

    1. I haven’t seen Adam Driver in much, but he’s impressed me in all of it- he’s probably the best thing in all the terrible Star Wars films he’s in, hopelessly wasted. He could have been a wonderful analogue for Luke in his own trilogy, but well, they went with the charming and perfect Rey and they didn’t have a plan anyway, so that was that.

      1. I have to keep IMDbing him to actually remember what I’ve seen him in other than the obvious, and for some reason it’s always BlacKkKlansman I’m forgetting — a very good film, and he’s good in it.

  2. Pingback: The 2020 List: March – the ghost of 82

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