Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall
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…a gripping, intelligently written and deftly constructed thriller, and of course all the more compelling because it’s true.
This is a slow-burning but cumulatively engrossing drama about the investigation into the CIA’s interrogation of Al-Qaida detainees after 9/11. They employed what were euphemistically termed Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, but which were actually – as the world of course came to know – nothing less than torture.
Adam Driver plays Daniel L. Jones, who works tirelessly on this project of truth-gathering for years, compiling the massive titular report in the process. Driver is excellent in a complex role which requires him to evoke subtly controlled intensity, frustration, moral outrage and alarm, often simultaneously – and Annette Bening’s performance as his boss, Senator Dianne Feinstein is equally impressive.
The action jumps forwards and backwards in time over many years, and no-one who’s investigated – President Obama included – emerges smelling of violets.
During the first half of the film, the depiction of Jones’s painstaking work and interaction with both sources and obstructors is interspersed with truly horrifying footage – dramatised, but no less repulsive for that – of torture techniques including waterboarding. It’s a considerable relief when the depiction of atrocities stops and the focus is only on Washington DC.
That the sadism unleashed in places like Abu Gharib was useless as a method of finding out truth from suspects only adds to the sense of iniquity.
The Report is not easy viewing, for a couple of reasons. The torture sequences are deeply disturbing, as they should be, and the plethora of characters and vast amount of detailed information require a lot of concentration. But it’s a gripping, intelligently written and deftly constructed thriller, and of course all the more compelling because it’s true.