This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
DrBeesMD’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
It was an incredibly important story that needed to be told, I just wasn't a fan of how it was chosen to be told here.
First of all, I am not really the type of person to enjoy watching long extended scenes of people getting tortured, which there are many of. They're impossible to watch because of how real the film makes them seem, it genuinely disturbed me. And yeah, I know that was the point. I'm not saying they shouldn't have been in the movie, in fact, I think without them lines like "he was waterboarded 180 times" wouldn't be as hard hitting as they were because you wouldn't have seen exactly what these victims were going through. But I am saying I didn't enjoy watching it. As always, problem with me, not so much the film.
Every scene feels the exact same. They all boil down to "oh no Dan, the report is getting delayed, again." or "oh no Dan, someone doesn't like the fact that you're writing the report" and it just gets boring after a while. There are some stand out scenes, but for the most part the film just felt like it was repeating the same plot point for it's entire runtime.
Adam Driver gives a fantastic performance when he is able to. He really brings the character of Dan Jones to life, in every scene you can see how important getting this information out is to him. He's emotional, and he's driven, and it makes for some really impactful scenes.
A large bulk of the film is made up of flashbacks. To indicate that they were flashbacks, the filmmakers decided to make every shot handheld and to change to colour grading to a gross yellow. Which, at least to me, made every flashback scene feel really cheap and low budget. I don't really see why they bothered making these changes, considering they already put up a title card on screen telling us it was a flashback.
Also, probably a good idea to look up the plot of the film before seeing it so you don't accidentally bring your girlfriend to see a movie about people being tortured. Definitely not speaking from experience.