Director: Scott Z. Burns
Writers: Scott Z. Burns

Stars: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Corey Stoll, Douglas Hodge
Release Date: November 15, 2019

The antithesis of Zero Dark Thirty. That is what the mood of The Report is. Rather than using the torture as the vehicle for American patriotism, The Report takes the USA’s massive balloon of self-assurance and pops it. Following true live events, The Report is an Amazon Prime original that follows an idealistic government staffer trying to fight the system and unfurl the bureaucracy of allowing torture in the War against Terror.

Adam Driver is the driving (too easy to pass up) force behind The Report playing the obsessive Daniel Jones. His personality is to accomplish anything at any cost, not allowing people or time to get in his way. Jones is tasked by Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to run an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. As history shows, this was the start of a decade long fight to try and find the truth.

The Report has a star-studded cast that includes recognizable faces such as Jon Hamm, John Rothman, Michael C. Hall, and Corey Stall. Much like in real life, the supporting performers in this movie hide in the shadow (of a mover on the executive branch…) of Driver and Bening, both of whom give great performances as the two main protagonists.

Driver is very good at acting. I know, breaking news. But in all reality, he may be the best at it in the business right now. Driver’s performance as Daniel Jones is one of the first instances I have ever seen him play a character with no moral or emotional conflict; you cannot deny the values of Jones’ motivations. In two performances of 2019 Marriage Story (2019) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker (2019), Driver plays a character who is flip-flopping on what’s best to do. There is no such internal debate in The Report, yet Driver is still able to make Jones compelling.

Personally, I think it is safe to say that the lack of complexity in the character of Daniel Jones is a main reason Driver did not get a lot of attention for his performance in The Report. The movie hinges on his effort, and there are very few I could trust to make pushing papers, typing on laptops and phoning conference calls interesting; Driver is one a select few in that elite sector.

A special shout out to Annette Bening playing Dianne Feinstein. In full transparency, I don’t know what makes her acting so compelling. What I do know is that every time she is on the screen, I am rooting so hard for her to dunk on every masculine personality trying to stand in her way.

I wrote that last paragraph before reading IMDB…she was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at The Golden Globes! I am glad her performance was not unrecognized by people WAY smarter than I!

The Report revolves around the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program and how its implantation was fumbled…to say the least. I am no modern historian, but what is portrayed in this movie makes the CIA appear so incredibly naive. Everyone in that organization gets duped by James Mitchell (Douglas Hodge), who calls himself a torture expert. Mitchell is a massive spin doctor, constantly talking in circles despite all the facts showing how the effects being used resulted in knowledge that was blatantly false or already known. There are numerous amount people saying, “Is this backed up by science?” or “How is this working?” throughout the movie, yet nobody fought to put a stop to it besides Feinstein and Jones.

I know that during a quarantine all everyone may want is a light, laughable story, and The Report is not that. However, if you want to think and learn a bit about a piece of America’s shady history and reputation, then tune into The Report on Amazon Prime. You’ll get good performances and a compelling yet simply put story. Then go back to your Tiger King brain-numbing mess haha.

STANKO RATING: B+ (3.5/5 Stars)

“The Report” IMDB
“The Report” Rotten Tomatoes

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