- Colin Fraser
FOUR STARS Daniel Jones is investigating the CIA, and determined that truth will not be a casualty of his findings.
Adam Driver, Anette Benning
POLITICAL DRAMA #THEREPORT
Daniel Jones is really pissed off. And not in a shrug-shoulders and carry on kind of way. Pissed off in a motor-mouthed-Alan-Sorkin-I’m-so-angry-I-could-spit kind of way. And with good cause. He’s the chap appointed to join the dots on dodgy US operations that led to Abu Graib and beyond. And if those ugly truths weren’t enough to turn your stomach, the cover up that followed, and the lengths dodgy government operatives took to bury their cover up, is enough to make you despair for humanity’s soul. Yet Jones is not the type to despair, he’s the type that gets really pissed off and then gets even.
Adam Driver is sensational as Jones. He gets to the heart of his transition from idealist to a man consumed by impassioned outrage with such visceral energy that he fills both the screen and the film. Yet he does so without the hysterics and overplay a role like this might tempt from a lesser actor. It’s a credit to him, yet also to long-time writer, first time director Scott Z. Burns (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, CONTAGION) who lays out the drama with cool-headed precision. It’s clear he’s no less angry yet filters his passion with precise, intelligent scripting to reveal the appalling political machinations that led to this outrageous degradation of office.
THE REPORT arrives as a warning shot in an age where truth has taken a back seat to, well, just about everything. And while such righteous indignation might sound as appealing as a feature-length episode of 4 CORNERS, THE REPORT is also a gripping political thriller complete with the ubiquitous fluoro-lit, creepy-carpark scene. It’s almost absurd, yet much of the reality of THE REPORT is punishingly absurd which affords Burns the opportunity to add a shot of humour to lighten the load. It’s a good thing he does for this can be a gab-fest that tips into not-unnecessary expository for the less informed (there’s a lot of detail). Yet it’s also an unashamedly macro exposé that prioritises brain over beauty to explore the dead-end path of a world that has prioritised emotion over ethics. It’s enough to piss you off.