The Report by Scott Z. Burns [7/10]

Scott Z. Burns is not well known but his reputation is growing, and “The Report” adds solidly, though not spectacularly, to his portfolio. The movie recounts, with apparent great felicity, the decade-long attempt by a Washington analyst to bring to light the blight on humanity of the CIA’s post-9/11 use of extreme interrogation, including waterboarding, at remote locations. No one who keeps track of things will be surprised, but it’s the work of literature and, these days, film, to etch such damned historical events on our consciousness. By and large, “The Report” carries out its reporting function well. Adam Driver always impresses and his stoic, impassive portrayal is convincing. The tone of the film is darkness and obfuscation and cinematographer Elgil Bryld captures the dingy tenor well. As with most “true stories,” narrative urgency is lacking and the final impact on the viewer is disgust at what happened but little emotional resonance. Interesting but punches light.

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