“The Report” Review – The Truth Hurts

The Report, centers on the US Senate’s damning report on the CIA’s use of “Enhance Interrogation Methods.”

The United States has never been perfect. Our history is filled with reprehensible actions, and the bloodshed of many innocent lives. At times we have used our power, and the power of fear, to achieve things for the so called greater good. But the truth of our history isn’t always great, and the good we achieve usually has nothing to do with the treacherous actions we have taken part in. The Report chronicles the work of Dan Jones (Adam Driver) as he works for the Senate Intelligence Committee to create what would become known as The Torture Report.

For roughly six years, Jones and a small team of investigators combed through the files of the CIA looking to find any information on the use of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.” During this time Jones and his team are constantly stonewalled by the CIA and those who believe that the report could damage the image of the United States and many of its senior politicians. Yet as they continue to collect information it becomes clear that the EIT’s were useless. The CIA had been using these techniques because they wanted to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. They wanted to hold power after feeling useless after the events of September 11th, 2001. These tactics were not used to help our country, but in fact were a way of coping with the fact that they couldn’t stop the biggest terrorist attack to ever occur on US soil.

The Report - EIT
Image via Amazon Studios

Most of what comes out of the report is information that is widely known to the public, and the turmoil that Jones faces as he tries to release the report is not at all surprising. The report begins as a seven thousand page document and is cut down to roughly 500 pages before being released. Its release did no harm to the CIA, in fact many members of the Agency who were involved in EIT’s were promoted. In 2015 President Obama did sign into law an amendment stating that the US would no longer use EIT’s, but at that point many of the techniques were no longer used, as the Agency seemed to realize they did nothing to help gain necessary intel.

The film does a superb job of presenting the facts in a way that is compelling and enthralling, at times showing the actions of CIA agents as Jones is reading through details of their techniques. It gives the film more than just constant streams of dialogue to keep you invested, but the dialogue is also enough to keep you glued to your seat throughout. A large part of the captivating nature of the film lies in the performances of the cast. Driver does award worthy work as Jones, constantly compelled to find the truth, and deliver it to the public so that these horrendous acts never happen again. Annette Bening also delivers a stellar performance as Senator Dianne Feinstein, conveying the difficulty of trying to release the truth while battling the politics of our political system.

The Report questions what is more important for our country to survive. Is it better to keep our mistakes and wrongdoings in the shadows, or is it more important to make sure that the truth sees the light of day. Even if that truth is damning to major structures of our country. The film says that the truth is more important, and it’s hard to argue against it. How can we stand as a country and try to be better than our past or our enemies, if we can not admit that we have made mistakes. How can we look to the world and say, “we are a just nation,” if we are unable and unwilling to judge ourselves. The Report is not only a great film, but an important one, because it tells the truth of who we are. It’s a film that will hopefully live on as time passes, and will be shown to future generations as a reminder that we’re not always perfect, but we can try to learn from our mistakes and maybe we can be better.

Rating: A-

The Report is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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The Report Poster
Image via Amazon Studios


Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 5 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)


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