After the terrorist strike on Sept. 11, 2001 the US reacted with an enormous effort to shut down Muslim terrorist organizations. There was definitely a belief that the actions of the terrorists had to be met with equally ruthless reaction and that this had to happen to protect the US from any further attacks. Hundreds of suspected terrorists were captured in an effort to stop attacks and hunt down Osama bin Laden. The CIA instituted black sites in other countries and established a prison in Guantanamo that would all be outside US legal jurisdiction. Questioning of the prisoners included what was euphemistically called enhanced interrogation techniques but was actually brutal torture. While the CIA moved on there were those in the US Senate who suspected what was going on and wanted to stop it. A senate investigator named Daniel Jones was the one who hunted down the evidence and brought it forward. This film documents this endeavour in dramatic form. Daniel Jones is played by Adam Driver, Senator Dianne Feinstein is played by Annette Bening and Dennis McDonough, the White House Chief Staff was played by Jon Hamm lead and excellent cast. This was one of most shameful episodes in recent US history and the film does and excellent job of following its development over more than a decade. There is some graphic film of the torture itself which I could really have done without, but the director has made a film that reminds me of All the President’s Men and similar political thrillers. Although the whole thing was about research and report writing it was a real edge of your seat thing. Worth your time although not likely Oscar stuff.
The Q and A was a treat. The director came out with Jon Hamm and although Adam Driver was not there we got the real thing – Daniel Jones. It was a good talk with good questions from the audience and Hamm was a major wit that had us all laughing. Maybe the best line was when an audience member asked Jones how the writing of the report and its ultimate release has affected his life. His response: “Well they made a movie about me.” Not many can say that.