The Report is an Intense Political Thriller That Leaves You Feeling Galvanized (Review)

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There is one thing to confirm after seeing The Report: Adam Driver is one of the best actors working in Hollywood and he can do no wrong. He shines in The Report portraying Daniel J. Jones, a senate staffer that worked on uncovering the truth surrounding the CIA’s post 9/11 Interrogation Program. His performance coupled with the tight screenplay and poised direction from Scott Z. Burns make for a very well put-together film.

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.


One of the most impressive aspects of The Report is the screenplay. It really does a good job not sacrificing importance for entertainment. On top of that, the pacing of it is fantastic and it does a marvelous job remaining engaging and informative throughout the two hour runtime. The editing is very precise as well, doing a good job remaining clear as the movie jumps from year to year. In a way, it is ultimately a cross between Zero Dark Thirty and Spolight, although it could easily be either of them. There is very little action in the film and at times it is hard to watch as some of the brutal torture techniques are on display. Most impressively it gives you an adrenaline high like you’re watching an action blockbuster, which rarely happens with a movie like this. Even though Zero Dark Thirty is great, you don’t feel the way you do in The Report. It is interesting to analyze the comparisons and contrasts of the two films.

The cast as a whole does a great job in The Report, but Adam Driver’s performance truly drives the narrative. His portrayal of the obsessed, intelligent Daniel J. Jones is one of those that commands each scene he is in. Jones poured everything he had into exposing the CIA’s wrongdoings in the enhanced interrogation techniques. Over 5 years of hard work by Jones and his small team took place in a small basement-like room in Washington, and at times it felt like all the work would be for nothing since the CIA did everything they could to make sure Jones’ report never came out. Jones had a substantial amount of support from Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) and that really helped down the stretch in terms of the report seeing the light of day. Bening is incredible as the senator as well, truly an authentic performance.

The direction from Scott Z. Burns is dignified and admirable. You can definitely tell that he wrote the screenplay because he knows exactly what he wants in each scene. The story can be viewed as controversial, so it is bold to even make a movie that surrounds this touchy subject. However, Burns does it the right way and knocks it out of the park. He has written screenplays for Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Steven Soderbergh (Contagion, Side Effects), and it is pretty obvious that his directing/shooting style derives from both of them. Most of the scenes have shaky-cam shots and sporadic zooms just like a Greengrass film. It works very nicely for a movie like The Report, though.

Overall, The Report is one of the best movies to come out in 2019. It is essential, important, and most importantly informative. There are many times where the script opens the viewers eyes to America’s politics the fine line everyone must walk when they’re in a position of power. No one is above the law and people need to be held accountable for their actions. Go check out The Report when it hits theaters. You’ll leave it feeling inspired.

Rating: 5/5

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