The Report is a drama film released in 2019, directed by Scott Z. Burns and starring Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, a US Senate investigator who along with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigate the CIA’s use of torture (post 9/11), during an entire decade culminating in Jones’s 6700 page report. The movie based on the real life political intrigue during Jones’s investigation into CIA torture of detainees, condenses the decade long search and brilliantly portrays Jones’s lonely and difficult investigation. For a topic like torture and the bureaucratic mess Jones had to wade through, the movie is fast-paced and engaging thanks to Adam Driver’s brilliant portrayal of Jones and Annette Bening as Senator Dianne Fenstein who authorized Jones to conduct the investigation.
The plot follows Jones as he is selected by Senator Feinstein to investigate the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the CIA in 2005. Jones and his team, begin reviewing almost 6 million pages of CIA material in a closed office. They are investigating CIA’s ominously named enhanced interrogation techniques. This involves looking at the methods utilized as well as the psychologists who created the program – flashbacks during this part, allow the audience to understand the brutality of the methods used and the inefficacy of the methods in the field.
What follows is a rapid retelling of a decade long, arduous process which is too mind-numbing to make for a good movie. The entire weight of putting life into the movie is left to Adam Driver, who despite a slightly restrained show, fuels the character of Jones with an inherent fury and obsession with revealing the crimes of the CIA.
Driver depicts Jones’s emotions brilliantly as he struggles to reveal the truth despite the several setbacks such as team quitting on him, his entire report being denied the light of day and a criminal investigation into him to stop him from completing his report. The entire movie shows one man’s fight to uncover the dark secrets of the CIA’s post-9/11 methods and the myth of the effectiveness of torture.
We have seen torture scenes in so many movies and TV shows – the thriller TV series 24, practically made Jack Bauer the head of the torture academy. But despite the effectiveness of torture in Hollywood action flicks and spy thrillers, torture as a method to extract reliable intelligence rarely works in real life as told by several people in different intelligence agencies. Torture as a tool to get people to reveal secrets, works well when it comes to getting suspects talking but fails miserably when we discuss the reliability of the revelations as most suspects, say whatever they feel will prevent their torture instead of actually telling the truth. It also leads to faulty intelligence and chasing dead end leads, as a suspect who is being tortured, will claim to have knowledge even when they do not.
Watch The Report to see the struggle to uncover the truth about dark practices begun with 9/11 as an excuse. Watch it for Adam Driver’s brilliant performance. Watch it to understand how utterly illogical is the argument in support of torture.
Watch for Adam Driver’s compelling performance