Movie review / ‘The Torture Report’ (M)

Share Canberra's trusted news:
Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones in “The Torture Report”.

“The XXXXXXX Report” (M) *** and a half

WATCHING writer/director Scott Z Burns’s two-hour long film, I couldn’t help recalling historical highlights from previous centuries of European occupation of that fair and beautiful land mass, that home of the free and land of the brave. White Christian is right, skins of other colours and other religions are lesser beings.

The topic of “The XXXXXXX Report” is the conflict between US government agencies over the application of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques on Muslim prisoners in the wake of 9/11. The principal players in the story, people so high on Uncle Sam’s totem pole as to be newsworthy, were newsmakers at its time and in its place. Its flavour is documentary performed by actors. Its substance is best described as information overload. 

Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones, to whom Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) assigned the task of investigating how the CIA was torturing prisoners-of-war with “beating, binding in contorted stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep disruption, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, deprivation of food, drink, and withholding medical care for wounds… waterboarding, walling, sexual humiliation, subjection to extreme heat or extreme cold and confinement in small coffin-like boxes”. The film reconstructs sequences showing several of these (the end credits list many stunt persons). 

How does it play in Australia? That will depend on how local media covered the story and how much attention we individuals gave to it. Characters and agencies in the film may well be household names in the US. Politics at ground level here is tiddlywinks compared with its byzantine American cousin.

I was glad to see the end titles start rolling. Not because the film is ill-fashioned – it certainly is not. But because of that information overload in unfamiliar and complex political territory.

At Dendy and Palace Electric

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

"The Torture Report" (M) *** and a half
Previous articleAn inventive jazz narrative to remember
Next articleMovie review / ‘Marriage Story’ (MA)
Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

Leave a Reply