Idealistic Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones, tasked by his boss to lead an investigation into the CIA’s post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program, uncovers shocking secrets.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States launched the ‘War on Terror’ to fight back, taking them into first Afghanistan and then Iraq, utilising some shady and underhand methods to achieve their goals such as enhanced interrogation techniques. All of this is common knowledge now, but it perhaps might not have been were it not for the efforts of people like Daniel Jones, the subject of ‘The Report’, a film that forensically examines the story behind how the United States routinely started using torture as part of their interrogations.
Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) story started as a senate staffer in 2003, and several years later he was tasked with leading an investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes on behalf of Senator Feinstein (Annette Bening). This investigation uncovers more than Jones expected, and it also leads to unwanted attention from various officials and politicians who will go to extreme lengths to discredit Jones and his team, and keep their findings hidden. The film is written and directed by Scott Z. Burns who has frequently collaborated with Steven Soderbergh, and his attention to detail and ability to bring complex elements together is a good match with ‘The Report’, which has an extensive ensemble cast and a narrative that could be difficult to follow in lesser hands. In Adam Driver, he also has one of the top actors in the business leading his movie and he is typically excellent as we’ve come to expect by now. The supporting cast contains the likes of Jon Hamm, Annette Bening and Matthew Rhys, who are all well cast but feature minimally, such is the nature of the story Burns is trying to tell.
I liked ‘The Report’ but wasn’t completely absorbed by it, with the forensic style of Burns filmmaking prioritising detail over characterisation. That being said, this is an important retelling of a dark chapter in recent US history and the filmmakers and ensemble cast do a good job of bringing it all together.
Directed By: Scott Z. Burns
Starring: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Maura Tierney, Ted Levine, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Michael C. Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Matthew Rhys, Jennifer Morrison, Dominic Fumusa, Douglas Hodge, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Scott Shepherd, Ben McKenzie and Jake Silbermann