Some actors are capable of making mundane things fascinating thanks to their command over their performance. It's in their face, the ticks and the inner thoughts, that so much is revealed. Adam Driver proves he is one of these actors in The Report. Much of the film is him toiling over documents in a basement office and yet the film is riveting.
Drive plays Senate investigator Daniel Jones. Jones worked for California Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening), who spent years on a fact-finding mission to find out about acts of torture committed under President George W. Bush's war on terror after 9/11. The film tracks the years of work it took by Jones and Feinstein to get the report released to the public.
Director Scott Z. Burns miraculously makes all the research and meetings, there are so many meetings, into something urgent. The film pulses where it could have easily flat-lined. His screenplay is clear-eyed and focused on making sure the audience can follow along with each roadblock, new discovery and setback. The audience is allowed to connect deeply with Jones as he fights for the truth to be released. While Jones' team was given access to classified files, they were not allowed to talk to many of the key players. This means they had to assemble the narrative from memos, emails, transcripts and the like. Burns masterfully brings these off the page and into dialogue exchanges and flashbacks that help keep things interesting.
The Report could have been a dry, dull affair as a result of how important a role sifting through documents is to the story. While it doesn't have much in visual flair, it has excellent pacing. This is a fast-paced two hours spent documenting the hard work Jones and his team did to bring to light the atrocities of the CIA. That is not an easy feat.
Driver and Bening are both great and play off each other well. While Bening may nab an award nomination for her performance, the film belongs to Driver. Driver is having an excellent year and his performance here could get a nomination on top of the certain nomination he will get for Marriage Story.
The Report is a valuable film that shows how power can corrupt even with noble intentions. The investigation starts during the Bush era but carries well into 2017 making the film relevant to today's audiences. It stands to champion the hard working Americans who uphold the government to inform its citizens properly. Driver as Jones is inspiring and an important figure to be reminded of in our current ruling presidency.