The Report

You probably know the story, and if you don’t The Report really, really thinks you should.

The investigation heralded by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (Annette Bening) office and staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) into the CIA’s use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ has received no end of criticism, lauding, coverage and here semi-fictionalised recreation.

In a year where Driver helmed one of the best films of the year alongside Noah Baumbach and concluded arguably cinema’s most iconic saga, one of the most interesting actors working today had his pick of projects and he chose this one.

Jon Hamm, Ted Levine, Corey Stoll and Michael C. Hall are among a trove of talented performers in tow who obviously empathise with the characters’ effort. For fans of The Americans, it will too be more than a little entertaining to see Matthew Rhys appear as the New York Times’ expert on national security.

The screenplay, largely procedural, relatively predictable and filled with posturing is run of the mill for like dramas with evident political bents. What elevates The Report among others, even with the credits scrawls letting us know the facts and ensuing events which don’t fit so comfortably into scripted drama, is that Bening and moreover Driver drastically elevate the material that could very well emerge as drab lecture in lesser hands.

There isn’t a scene either shared or absent one respective lead even replete with findings, stats, moral and practical quandaries and lambasting of the American intelligence establishment which, as blatantly directive and expository as many are, doesn’t feel compulsive and dramatically urgent.

A function of the editing as well, there’s a welcomely uniform pace to the sequences centred on uncovering actions taken by American operatives which bears an intrinsic sense of foreboding throughout to which varied viewers will no doubt relate. With the high points of The Report mirroring some of The West Wing’s better exchanges in their style and overtones, the film is by no means original but for its place within this small Spotlight-esque genre it transpires as an engaging addition.  

The Report is now streaming on Amazon Prime