ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"The Report" Movie Review

Updated on December 26, 2019
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life, he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

The Report
The Report | Source

A film about a five-year Senate inquiry that resulted in a 6,700-page report written by a bland man working alone in a concrete basement room may not sound like riveting, must-watch stuff, but The Report (which itself may be the blandest of bland titles) is instantly reminiscent of political thrillers along the lines of 1976’s All the President’s Men and 2017’s The Post.

Writer-director Scott Z. Burns goes deep behind the scenes of the American political system to reveal the machinations that resulted in the torture of suspected terrorists in the wake of 9/11, and what he puts forth on film may infuriate and/or disgust, but it’s a story that begs to be told. And Burns does it very well.

Adam Driver stars as investigator Daniel Jones, who wrote the study that wrapped up the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Bush Administration and the CIA. And while much of the film involves little more than Senators speaking in committee rooms or extended shots of Jones poring over volumes of emails, memos, and letters, The Report finds a way to emerge as one of the more compelling films of the year.

After a brief prologue that serves as the flashback point for Jones’ narrative, The Report begins with a group of CIA counter-terrorism experts watching the September 11 attacks unfold before them on television screens. Within days, President Bush gives the authority to capture and detain suspected terrorists, and when the first is brought in six months later, the agency hires independent contractors Bruce Jessen (T. Ryder Smith) and James Mitchell (Douglas Hodge) to devise the interrogation protocols. Those protocols, now known the world over as “enhanced interrogation techniques”, were used on 119 prisoners and provide the key focus of Jones’ investigation.

With a loaded cast that also includes Annette Bening (excellent as Senator Dianne Feinstein, who commissioned Jones’ study), Michael C. Hall, Maura Tierney, and Jon Hamm, The Report has all the talent required to take the dialogue-heavy script and turn it into a well-crafted thriller. Driver, a far cry from the lightsaber-wielding space villain we will all revisit in a few weeks, anchors The Report with a stoic and determined performance perfect for the subject matter, cementing his standing as one of the more talented and versatile actors at work today.

The images of mistreated Guantanamo Bay prisoners from the mid-2000s and the horrifying stories of waterboarding (which Burns recreates with a spot-on level of detail) are still burned into the minds of much of the population, and The Report won’t do anything to make them go away. (In fact, it’s likely the audience will leave even more infuriated than before.) But it’s a story that begs to be told, not only as an exposé of one of the darkest points in recent American history’s but also as a never-preachy blueprint on how to make sure it never happens again.


4/5 stars

'The Report' trailer


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)