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Film Of The Week Light on the dark side of the ‘war on terror’

ALAN FRANK recommends a blistering exposé of the hideous 'detention and interrogation' programme introduced in the aftermath of 9/11

The Report (15)
Directed by Scott Z Burns

THE DRAMATIC  impact of this riveting and raw political thriller is seemingly never-ending.

It delivers a painful emotional punch with its exposé of horrific real-life events, with Scott Z Burns doubling to forceful effect as both screenwriter and director of an increasingly chilling story.

In it, Adam Driver is perfectly cast as US government staffer Daniel Jones who, believing he’s more effective behind the scenes, eschews political management. He’s charged by his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Benning, also excellent) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Programme created in the aftermath of 9/11 and, adhering to the principal of “no politics, no bias”, he digs deep.

So doing, he uncovers the uncivilised horrors of sadistic US interrogation methods, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation — “tired people tell the truth” — sadistic physical violence and worse.

In exposing something the US would certainly have preferred not to be the subject of such a  potent real-life drama, Burns pulls no visual punches in staging chilling sequences showing the cold-blooded torture of Arab prisoners.

The CIA and the White House prevented Feinstein, Jones and their committee from publicising the results of their investigation and, as Burns has commented: “We have laws and ideals not for the days when life is easy but for the days when we see our world shattered by terror and cruelty.

“The wisdom in those laws is there to guide us when we are blinded by rage and grief but instead America and our leaders moved toward what Dick Cheney readily admitted was the dark side’.”

That is what Burns vividly illuminates in this must-see film.

 

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