The Report at LFF: optimistic and refreshing
The Report, written and directed by Scott Z Burns, is the latest movie to revisit a dark chapter in American History. Due to the current political climate in the US, Hollywood has increasingly delivered films such as The Post and Vice, in which filmmakers have explored what is wrong with their country and how that affects them in the present. In this regard, The Report joins the aforementioned movies in this need to show what problems affect American society.
The film narrates the story of Daniel J Jones (Adam Driver), a young US Senate investigator who, under Senator Diane Feinstein’s (Annette Bening) supervision, leads the investigation into the CIA’s use torture after 9/11. Burns manages to keep the audience engaged in a ticking-clock thriller, where the characters desperately fight to get the truth to the public. The large amount of exposition that moves the plot forward never feels forced (Daniel Jones himself stated during the Q&A that it is quite admirable how the film told the story in 2 hours, based on a report that reached seven-thousand-pages). The film follows in the steps of All The President’s Men and the formula works in favor of the filmmakers. The story is well told, but it doesn’t have any of the visual nuances that the above-mentioned film brought to cinema nor does it try to do so. On the other hand, it succeeds to tell the story with optimism and feels refreshing.
Daniel is an investigator devoted to bringing the truth to the Senate and the public. He doesn’t care if releasing the Torture Report will bring complications to the Democratic Party or frustrate relationships with the Republican Party. He is a public servant who needs to inform the public and government about the wrongdoings of the CIA. In a time where films like Vice tell you that America screwed up and that it’s the American people’s fault for voting incorrectly, The Report suggests that it is more important to fight for the truth and the democratic values that American, and also Western, societies have long championed for. Towards the end of the film, after the Torture Report is approved to be released, Senator Feinstein speaks about how the US is a country ready to admit its mistakes and learn from them.
We are currently living in dark times, and the US is led by one of the most divisive presidents that has ever set foot in the White House, but it doesn’t mean we have to live with that stain for their rest of history. As long as there are Americans like Dan Jones, who are willing to fight for the truth, even if the criminals are not prosecuted, it will still encourage many others to follow his footsteps to fight for what is right and keep building a better nation.