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'Reality' review: Sydney Sweeney shocks as reality winner in tense thriller shaped by FBI transcript

Playwright Tina Sutter’s Is This a Room was one of the more uncharacteristic standouts of the recent New York season. A 25 minute verbatim drama shaped entirely from FBI interrogation transcripts leading to NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Arrested, which was propelled by stellar reviews, went from a small downtown space to a leading Broadway house, then landed on Broadway for a short run

cemented its critical success even as it struggled commercially. Adapting the play as a feature gives cinematic authenticity a powerful intuitive punch.


BOTTOM LINE The truth is scary.

Place: Berlin Film Festival ( Panorama) Throwing : Sydney Sweeney
, Josh Hamilton , Marchánt Davis , Benny Elledge, John Way Director : Tina Sutter Writers : Tina Satter, James James Paul Dallas, based on a play by Sutter, Is This a Room
1 hour25 minute

By swapping the minimalist design of the stage production for a scrupulously realistic representation of the house in Augusta, Georgia, the winner is renting 2017, Reality, since the movie has been renamed, at the risk of reducing the uncomfortable swindle The blend of banality and surrealism that characterizes the show. But if anything, that unease is heightened onscreen.

Satter demonstrates a firm command of the medium as a novice film director, notably her astute use of the close-up, giving Sydney Sweeney All the more unsettling is the raw nerves that are constantly exposed by great performances. Sutter’s original transcript conveyed by briefly switching to a blank screen. But anyone who follows the news cycle knows that the year-old former Air Force intelligence officer shared A document containing evidence of Russian cyber-interference in 2016 elections was released.

This fact anchors the drama of the Trump administration, which has gone to great lengths to keep this information out of the public domain. This also explains why Winner received such an unusually harsh sentence of 5 years and 3 months in prison. Although she was released under supervision after the age of four, it was still the heaviest sentence for a U.S. citizen under the espionage laws for leaking classified documents.

Satter and co-writer James Paul Dallas revealed on June 3 that the show judiciously screens every word spoken, every throat clear or nervous laugh, every There is no deviation from its foundation in the awkward pause, . The most notable addition is a brief prologue that sees reality from behind in a small company office cubicle, where she works as a translator under contract with the NSA. Fox News blasted from every TV monitor in the room as details of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey were revealed.

When Reality came home from the grocery store after three weeks, she was greeted in her driveway by two FBI officers, the breezy, everyday Garrick (Josh Hamilton), Saturday In a dad suit in the afternoon, alongside his tougher, more reticent partner Taylor (Marchánt Davis), his muscular physique feels instantly menacing. They chatted for a while before casually revealing that they had warrants to search her house, car and phone because of possible mishandling of classified documents. An unknown third officer (Benny Elledge) soon arrives, all the more disturbing with his silence and belittling glances. About her rescue dog who “didn’t like men,” eventually allowing her to take the animal out to the yard and keep it on a leash. The same was true of the questions they asked about her cat, with searchers coming down the hill periodically to report it was in or under the bed.

But the sly humor of the scene is undercut when the agents allow Reality to keep her perishables in the fridge, while the kitchen barely has room for her tiny stature and all the testosterone . The sense of dread grew as other officers pulled crime-scene tape around her yard.

When he asked her about guns in the house, he kind of joked – she had three, including a pink AR -15 — about her CrossFit workouts and yoga, and her fluent Persian, Dari, and Pashto. He seemed almost sympathetic when she admitted to being frustrated when she was rejected to be deployed to Afghanistan as a translator.

But just as Sweeney’s body language went from loose to stiff to broken, slowly breaking down internally as the seriousness of their visit became clear, Hamilton and others The actor gradually dropped all pretense that this was an information-gathering courtesy call. It’s clear from the transcript that they already know pretty much everything they need to know, and the way this knowledge is slowly revealed is teeth-gnashing.

The real house was barely furnished and the main part of the interrogation took place in a dilapidated back room that was completely empty. She repeatedly apologizes for not having a place to sit, as if they were invited guests, but it allows Sartre to play with space and physical dynamics in sly ways as the men gather around her.

One of the heartrending aspects of Sweeney’s layered performance is the realistic realization that Garrick’s good-guy behavior is merely a subtle sign of professional role-playing. But she agreed, because to do otherwise would have meant giving up the last defense.

Her interactions with other agents are more explicitly threatened, causing her to nervously shuffle and sometimes collapse on herself like a rag doll. Satter rightly believes that her actors and her writing can bring dramatic life to Reality’s ordeal without technical distractions, the only decoration being Nathan Micay’s prickly ambient soundtrack and occasional voice distortions that let us enter the protagonist’s head .

While the action unfolds in less than two hours, no matter where you stand in Winner’s action, the spiral of tragedy feels intense. Her heart was broken when she finally broke down, acknowledging all the misinformation that was constantly being spread, and asking herself if she shouldn’t be publicizing harmful attacks on the integrity of America’s elections. If she doesn’t have the authority to expose this anti-democratic vandalism, what is she doing in this job?

“Am I going to jail tonight?” she asked the agents, getting evasive answers before they took her outside and handcuffed her. A sick feeling rises in your stomach as you watch this young woman who makes questionable decisions fret over who will take care of her pets. In Sweeney’s professionally calibrated performance, a complete departure from her work in White Lotus and Euphoria, reality often seems But a teenager.

The film ends with a rant from a GOP spokesman, calling Wenner “a prime example of an insider threat,” while Tucker Carlson, in his trademark showy rage Foaming at the mouth. It’s just the right amount of insidious to keep this tense, impressive thriller about power, surveillance, and moral responsibility lingering in your head, with its many questions. The most important thing is “how will I do it?”

Full credits 65

Venue: Berlin Film Festival (Panorama) Production company: Seaview, 2 Sq Ft , in association with Burn These Words, In the Cut Productions, Fit Via Vi, Cinereach, Tanbark Pictures
Cast: Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, Marquette Davis, Benny Elledge, John ·Wei Director: Tina SutterWriters: Tina Satter, James Paul Dallas, based on a script by Satter, Is This a RoomProducer : Noah Stahl, Brad Becker-Parton, Riva Marker, Greg Nobile Execution Producers: Ellyn Daniels, Will O’Connor, Daniel Ginsberg, Bill Way, Elliott Whitton, Eva Maria Daniels, Philipp Engelhorn, Caitlin Gold, Tina Satter Director of Photography: Paul Yee Production designer: Tommy Love Costume Design: Enver Chakartash Music: Nathan Micay Editors: Jennifer Vecchiarello, Ron DulinCasting: Douglas Aibel 1 hour minutes

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