Because I'm a sucker for a boring govproc I finally got around to watching THE REPORT last night.
I guess it's a hard story to, like. Dramatize, so it's a bit... I would say "narratively unconventional" in places, in ways that makes some of the acting feel a bit... weird (I think the fact that the actors are likely trying to imitate the mannerisms of the real people they're portraying, after e.g. watching them in CSPAN footage, adds to this).
James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen are the closest thing the film has to "villains", and Mitchell's portrayal in particular is almost kind of... cartoonishly evil?
Which, I mean... on the one hand, fair; the dude *did* scam like $80+ million dollars out of the US taxpayer by convincing the CIA that torture was a super great idea (spoiler alert: it wasn't), and I've never seen any footage of the dude in real life, so hey maybe he really is like that.
... but also on the other hand it feels kind of, uh. Too obvious? Like the film needs *a* villain, so let's yeet these contractors into that role and have them cackling evilly drinking champagne on a private jet. Which has the side effect of making the CIA look, at worst, well-meaning-but-easily-duped which, uh. I mean... I'd suggest it was a smidge more complicit than that? Just a bit?
But that's kind of a minor gripe, I guess.
Driver and Bening get some really great scenes (Bening in particular is *really* good with a portrayal of someone trying to grapple with widespread corruption inside a system they're a part of and deeply believe in) and I do love me some good ideological shouting matches over rule of law and realpolitik, which the tail end of the film in particular delivers on nicely.
And, yeah. The scenes of torture in the film are brief but still really, really hard to watch, in part because, again, it's portraying real things that happened to real people.
Like, pretty much the core argument is whether "EIT" is really "that bad" when it's "just" playing really loud music at people or pouring a bit on water on them or whatever and not, like. Breaking them on a wheel like in Ye Oldene Days.
And IMO the film is pretty good at conveying that, actually, it is That Bad.
So, yeah. THE REPORT: not perfect, and it's weird to say I "enjoyed" a movie like this (because, again: real people, like, really died and were maimed for life and so on because of this stuff) but... yeah. Recommended.
Oh and also watching Adam Driver playing Dan Jones watching Jessica Chastain playing a CIA officer in ZERO DARK THIRTY was... just so deliciously meta.
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