Annette Bening & Adam Driver Power Slightly Too Dense Drama ‘The Report’ [Sundance Review]

The Playlist | 1/27/2019 | Gregory Ellwood
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PARK CITY – Thanks to almost non-stop political upheaval and 3-hour news cycles, some of the biggest stories of the century haven’t gotten their proper due. One of those moments was the 2012 release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture. The investigation was overseen by the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and researched by staffer Daniel J. Jones along with a very small staff of associates. It documented how the CIA tried to cover up its own torture program (known as EIT for “enhanced interrogation techniques”) and, notably, that the agency’s own internal investigation deemed it was illegal. Sounds like great material for a movie, right? Well, yes and no. Thankfully, writer and director Scott Z. Burns at least attempts to frame the importance of this investigation in his new drama, “The Report,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival this weekend.

Five years in the making, the report was spearheaded by Jones (Adam Driver, possessed), who had previous experience in congressional investigations. Both he and his team (Sarah Goldberg, Lucas Dixon, smart) went through thousands of documents and E-mails to uncover the facts about a torture program that began after the events of Sept. 11. The program was ended by President Obama three days into his first term. As the years go by, Feinstein (Annette Bening, superb) continues to stress patience to an increasingly impatient Jones. In the California Senator’s eyes, the whole story must be revealed, not just incendiary details one at a time. By the time Jones and his team had finished, they had discovered there were 119 detainees and a quarter of them were found to have no connection to terrorist groups whatsoever. They also learned that the truth about the interrogation techniques was hidden from...
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