The Report ★★★½

A bracing and unwaveringly journalistic dramatization of the largest investigative review in U.S. Senate history, “The Report” is so dry that it makes “Spotlight” feel like a Fellini movie by comparison. In isolated stretches, the rigor of Scott Z. Burns’ screenplay and the discipline of his direction can be enervating; if Robert Mueller were a filmmaker, this is the kind of clerical thriller he would make. And yet, the coolheaded patience of Burns’ approach is precisely what makes “The Report” so powerful in the end, not only as a lucid crystallization of our country’s recent political history, but also as an urgent reminder of how a world that prioritizes emotions over ethics will eat itself alive.

It’s easy to see why Senator Whitehouse thinks staffer Daniel Jones is the ideal candidate to lead a classified investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (more specifically: the use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11). Jones is basically a Boy Scout. A graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a distinguished member of the FBI, and even a three-year Teach for America survivor who was able to handle seventh graders without losing his mind, Daniel is the kind of guy who could still run for president without having to delete any old tweets. Adam Driver, in a commanding lead performance, plays Daniel with the same moral velocity that he brought to “BlacKkKlansman” last year.