An American Intelligence Specialist is held and questioned at her house by the FBI for leaking government information to the media.
This is a fresh take on building up suspense and cinematic realism! Reality is a pleasant surprise to Contemporary Hollywood. HBO and writer/director Tina Satter, get access to the transcript of the FBI, and more particularly the day of the arrest, and visualise only what’s in there. Anything you can’t read or listen to or anything that’s missing is missing from your screen or speakers, too. A risky but highly effective way of making a docudrama.
I have extensively spoken about the role of editing in building up suspense, and while most of the time I refer to metric montage or the amount of information revealed from cut to cut, here, something else is going on: Editors Ron Dulin and Jennifer Vecchiarello don’t cut when they are expected to cut! Pay attention to how editing builds up anticipation in the way they cut from the addresser to the addressee; from what is uttered to its reaction. Furthermore, this is arguably Sydney Sweeney’s best acting so far! She did her research, spoke with the actual Reality Winner, and absolutely nailed the part. Josh Hamilton (Agent Garrick) and Marchánt Davis (Agent Taylor) support her and fuel the tension even more. Lastly, the dialogue is as realistic as they come. Because it’s not scripted, it takes you in unexpected directions, and, as mentioned above, so does its pace and rhythm.
Watch it and see for yourselves. Again, this is a very fresh take on something you have already seen before, but nothing like it at the same time. A powerful feature debut from Satter!
As it has been repeatedly said, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. In politics and philosophy, there will always be questions without definite answers. How much government do we want? How much government do we need? If the government is there to protect us, who can protect us from the government? I guess part of the cinema’s role is to present to us vantage points, and our role as cinemagoers (and citizens) is to familiarise ourselves with them, interpret them, question them, accept them, reject them, and/or counter-argue them. As we need to do with our governments, too.
Indifference though leads to a different quote: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” – John Stuart Mill. Today, that includes women and non-binary people. We are ALL responsible.
Thank you for reading!
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Solidarity for Ukraine 🇺🇦 🙏