Compelling and cruel: “The Report” is a true story at breakneck pace


From Director Scott Z. Burns, the producer and writer of “Side Effects,” “Contagion” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” comes an Amazon Prime Original Movie, “The Report.”

The film was released in select theaters on Nov. 15 and made its way to Amazon Prime Video on Nov. 29.

Starring Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, Jon Hamm as Dennis McDonough and Annette Benning as Senator Diane Feinstein, the film is based on actual events. It tells the story of Jones’ fight to reveal the true efficacy of E.I.T’s or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques used on Al-Qaeda operatives in the aftermath of 9/11, and the corruption the CIA engaged in by using the E.I.T. acronym to disguise torture as interrogation.

Jones’ research leads to the construction of thousands of pages of information detailing the methods used as well as the fact that the FBI broke into the place where Jones and his team were working on this document in order to prevent it from eventually reaching the public.

Adam Driver plays a member of the senate staff who is assigned by Feinstein, to collaborate with a group of six Republicans and six Democrats to uncover the truth about abuses committed by the CIA in the treatment of the suspected perpetrators of 9/11.

Dennis Mcdonough is another senate staffer who interviews Jones for a senate staffer job, but instead urges him to gain experience for the job by working for the CIA.

The CIA engaged in methods such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation to obtain information on the attacks. The villains of the film are Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, Air Force psychologists who were the masterminds behind E.I.T, despite having had no training in interrogations. This lack of training led to the CIA employing torture techniques with the misguided belief that their methods would lead to success in obtaining information.

This movie is not for the squeamish as it contains brief, but intense, scenes of torture. Overall, however, the script is well-written and believable. The story has an added weight given that it is based on events that actually happened. Adam Driver is a commanding presence as Daniel Jones. In one particularly memorable scene, Jones delivers an impassioned speech to Senator Feinstein and Marcy Morris about the CIA’s lies concerning the information they discovered utilizing “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” particularly concerning the treatment of Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, or KSM, whom the CIA waterboarded 183 times.

Driver says, “As far as we can tell, everything they attributed to EITs they already had, from other sources, from foreign governments, from other methods. They claim they saved lives, but what they really did was make it impossible to prosecute a mass murderer like KSM, because if what we did to him ever came out in a court of law, the case is over. The guy planned 9/11, and instead of going to jail for the rest of his life, the CIA turned him into a recruiting tool for a war we’re still fighting.”

The dialogue is engaging and moves the film along a logical progression.
The soundtrack of the film is primarily electronic sounds, which helps to ratchet up the tension and complements the scenes well. There is a mixture of droning electronic tracks and more fast paced pieces, which clearly signal to the viewer the mood and direction of the scene.

Special effects are not present in the film, yet they are not needed to keep the viewer engaged. The scenes speak for themselves.

“The Report”: is expertly paced, holding my interest from start to finish. I give it a nine out of ten.