It is a Thursday and a day away from the weekend. This basically means that I had one day to explore and scout for new content. And since I was lagging on the International front, I decided to watch and review the new English film Reality. Biopics aren’t new in current times wherein we have been privy to stories on some great individuals. But of late, biopics also have started exploring sub-genres of not completely focusing on the entire life of an individual but more specifically on the episode from their life that is more significant in terms of storytelling. We did see this briefly in the English film AIR and now this is further explored in the English film Reality. Now, I wasn’t quite privy to the episode in question here and so I ventured into Reality with a blank slate. So then does Reality manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Based on true events in 2017, Reality follows the story of a young woman who is questioned by FBI over her involvement in leaking classified information. This premise itself is interesting and the conversational tone of the drama does evoke a few eyeballs into the corruption of the system. The screenplay standing at just about 80 odd minutes makes for a super brisk watch. And dare I say that this was the right length considering its slender subject and the conversational template of the drama.
The drama has its limitations with respect to its setting. This is because the entire drama unfolds at a single location. And so, the writing needed to be sharp to hold your interests throughout. The writers here deserve a huge round of applause for engaging the viewers with some sharp and unassuming writing that slowly threatened to escalate the tensions. The drama was a slow poison focusing on the world building interestingly after establishing the conflict. So what did seem like casual conversations involving an inquiry, soon began to take shape and form by blurring the boundaries between right and wrong.
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing as the writers keep the conflict vague to begin with. So while you are told about a possible classified information being shared, the actual classified information is kept under wraps until the very end. As a result, you sympathies do lie with the protagonist right throughout her gruelling interrogation. In fact, the narrative is such that it does make you a bystander while the interrogation is on that makes for an even more horrifying experience.
The tensions slowly begin to escalate as the layered drama comes to a closure. The revelation of the actual classified information being leaked was shocking which made me believe that no elections in the world would be clean and transparent. There would be ample amounts of manipulations, at times with media in the pockets of the authorities throughout the globe. Which is why films like Reality that punch above their weight should be a norm which will eventually result in a healthy democracy. The finale was saddening and heartbreaking while blurring the lines of right and wrong, thus summing up the screenplay which was well written despite the limitations due to its setting.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are taken from a transcript that is followed to the ‘T’ thus making this drama compelling in many ways. The BGM is sparingly used, relying mostly on the natural sounds of the surroundings. The cinematography adds a layer of claustrophobia to the already horrifying and disturbing drama. Director Tina Satter is impressive with respect to the rising levels of tension that are created throughout the drama. The drama was poignant and engaging while continuing to be disturbing and for that reason the direction deserves credit.
The performances are excellent here. Marchant Davis as Agent Taylor is well restrained in a job well done. Josh Hamilton as Agent Garrick is unassumingly aggressive and does a wonderful job here. Sydney Sweeney as Reality Winner was a class apart here. Starting off rather casually, she builds on the conversation by taking you through a series of emotions that always have you rooting for her. She was quite brilliant right throughout the drama.
Reality is a deeply disturbing and poignant drama with great performances that makes for a solid impact.