Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller THE REPORT comes to the cinema briefly and immediately afterwards to the streaming platform Amazon Prime. But no matter where you watch the film, you should definitely take the time to watch it. We reveal why in our review.
Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) also puts his own career at risk through his research.
The plot summary
The committed employee Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) is commissioned by his boss, Senator and Chairman of the Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening), to lead an investigation into the CIA’s “Detention and Interrogation Program”, which was launched after the attacks on the CIA It was set up on September 11, 2001 to use illegal interrogation methods, including torture, to find out information about those behind the attacks. Jones’ relentless search for the truth reveals how far America’s most powerful intelligence agency was willing to go to destroy evidence, subvert the law and hide a shocking secret from the public.
The Report Movie Meaning & ending
On the poster of Scott Z. Burns’ “The Report” a word has been crossed out with a red pen. If you look closely, you can recognize the term “torture” – and the political thriller about the torture allegations against the CIA in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was originally supposed to be released in cinemas under the title “The Torture Report”. But then the filmmaker (producer of, among others, “Side Effects” and “The Money Laundering” and screenwriter of “The Informant”) resorted to the visual effect for his opening credits sequence in only his second feature film since 2006, with a few passages in front of the viewer’s eyes to have blacked out; In exactly the same way as in highly investigative journalism, such as that carried out by the main character Daniel J. Jones in “The Report”, one does with the critical points so that only what should come out gets out. The poster for “The Report” carries its important issue proudly – and announces that the film it promotes could perhaps be more striking than would be good for the already difficult topic. It’s difficult because it’s about whether you can use violence against serious violent criminals such as terrorists (or people who you at least believe to be terrorists) in order to force information out of them. But interestingly, Burns, who is also responsible for the script, doesn’t even ask this question. “The Report” is thoroughly a film about the importance of investigative journalism.
Thomas Eastman (Michael C. Hall) Gretchen (Joanne Tucker) Bernadette (Maura Tierney).
To say that “The Report” does not take a clear position on the allegations of torture against the CIA (including in Abu Ghraib prison) would not do justice to the meticulousness with which Scott Z. Burns recounts the true events here become. What he does do, however, is shift the focus away from the moral question. Instead, he focuses on his protagonist’s journalistic work and allows himself an even more approachable, sometimes very personal perspective; unlike Tom McCarthy in the similarly designed “Spotlight” . In the Oscar-nominated drama about the investigation of the abuse scandal in the Boston Catholic Church, the filmmaker relied on an almost documentary retelling in which the personal background of the reporters played no role. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber remained completely reduced to their function as journalists in “Spotlight” – and that made perfect sense in this context, because with four main characters in focus, emotionalization in private would have brought the actual topic into focus can move into the background. In “The Report” the focus is now on an individual. And that allows Burns to sometimes take her out of his reporter status and show how the events affect him as a private person. But “The Report” is ultimately not a film about Daniel J. Jones and is therefore only a classic hero story to a very limited extent. With his understated performance, Adam Driver (“The Dead Don’t Die”) consciously puts himself at the service of the actually important part: the investigation of a political scandal.
To illustrate these excesses of the scandal, Scott Z. Burns sometimes resorts to brutal means. Without any voyeuristic shots, let alone celebrating violence, cameraman Eigil Bryld (“Tulip Fever”) creates images that appear all the more frightening in their sobriety, for which Burns visualizes some particularly violent torture methods. But even less than the violence shown here is the sobriety with which the CIA men present at the time tortured the victims (and perpetrators?) in their charge. Here Burns creates a meaningful antithesis to the opening sequence of the thematically closely related “Zero Dark Thirty,” in which the torturers consisted primarily of patriotic loyalists who enjoyed these acts. Seeing how the exercise of violence is the absolute routine is of much greater significance and ultimately underlines the entire production of “The Report”: Scott Z. Burns’s film is not about staging a political scandal as spectacularly as possible to shock the audience with sensationalism. His film works via exactly the opposite; about a lot of dialogue, a lot of details formulated literally and about the fact that, alongside the protagonist, you understand how many gears had to mesh together so that the CIA could circumvent the applicable law and move into such inhumane territory. Here the paperwork is more exciting than any shootout or spectacular car chase.
The fact that this approach works so brilliantly (and makes “The Report” not only one of the most important but also one of the most exciting films of 2019) is due not least to Adam Driver’s perfectly delivered performance. The mime, who has been turning out to be an absolute jack-of-all-trades for several years (this year alone, in addition to “The Report,” he can be seen in a zombie comedy, a bitter divorce drama and a big-budget space opera) holds back here with the big gestures and fully emerges as a reserved and highly committed journalist who only pursues the goal of bringing the truth to light. Driver makes the short but striking moments of doubt just as tangible as his hours and weeks of research driven by ambition, in which he isolates himself from the outside world and sometimes almost falls into a mania, from which he always acts in the right way for the sake of the cause can free the moment. His Daniel J. Jones is contradictory but never unbelievable – in short: human. And with this humanity behind him, Scott Z. Burns can present the whole issue surrounding the torture allegations to them on an equal level with the viewers. This means that the events that otherwise always seem so far away behind closed doors suddenly seem very close to us and the question of whether such methods should be used no longer even needs to be raised in order to answer it for yourself. One of the most important films of the year!
Conclusion: Starring a phenomenal Adam Driver, “The Report” tells the story of the path from the initial research to the publication of information about one of the biggest CIA scandals in US history in a sufficiently sober but equally appropriately emotional way.
“The Report” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from November 7th.