Amazon’s Film Starring Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, and Annette Bening: What We Know
What has Sundance done for you lately? Looking back at 2018, the answer was clear. Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You and the Paul Dano directorial debut Wildlife delivered two very different but equally engaging looks at the world. That’s about all a low-budget film fan can ask for these days.
Following the 2019 edition, it looks like Sundance has delivered another gem. This time around, fans will get The Report, a Steven Soderberg-produced film by writer-director Scott Z. Burns. Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, and Annette Bening star in the picture from Vice Studios.
According to Variety, Amazon won the bidding war for distribution with a sum close to $14 million. The trade magazine noted that Amazon would be “planning an awards push for the film,” suggesting the festival enthusiasm is real. Here’s a look at the film’s based-on-a-true-story plot and audience reaction.
An ‘angry, urgent’ thriller about CIA torture practices
The film follows the work of Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver), who in real life put together the report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques in the post-9/11 era. Jones works on the report for six years while checking in with Senator Diane Feinstein (Bening) and (we imagine) facing all sorts of blowback from the military.
In a review for The Guardian, Benjamin Lee praised The Report as an “angry, urgent film.” Citing Burns’s tight script and excellent work by Driver and Bening, the reviewer compared it favorably to The Post for its hard focus on the material. (Burns worked with Soderberg on The Informant!, among other films.)
Other reviews express nearly as much enthusiasm. In addition to Hamm, the supporting cast includes Jennifer Morrison, Michael C. Hall, Corey Stoll, and Matthew Rhys.
Plans for a fall 2019 release
According to Variety, Amazon is planning to release The Report in the fall before mounting its awards campaign. The studio secured the global rights to the film following an intense bidding war with several other distributors. (Vice founder Eddy Moretti and Vice Studios heads negotiated the deal.)
Besides Feinstein and other members of Congress who are household names, the audience gets a look at Gina Haspel (Maura Tierney) prior to her rise to the head of the CIA. Judging by reviewers’ takes on this film, it seems like a much more tightly wound approach to the subject matter of Adam McKay’s Oscar-nominated Vice.
That approach certainly worked in Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s film recounting the breaks leading to the Catholic Church abuse scandal in Boston. McCarthy relied on an all-star cast that featured Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams on top of their games.
In The Report, Burns had the challenge of recreating a similar period in U.S. history with all his focus on the inside events. By most accounts, he managed to pull it off with an equally strong cast. It will be a film to put on the calendar for later this year.
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