Home Movies Reviews ‘Reality’ (2023) HBO Movie Review - An Intense Watch that Sucks You In

‘Reality’ (2023) HBO Movie Review - An Intense Watch that Sucks You In

Based on true events, the film is about a 25-year-old former American intelligence specialist Reality Winner, who is confronted by FBI agents

Aayush Chaurasia - Tue, 30 May 2023 18:32:50 +0100 4858 Views
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Reality is an HBO movie that revolves around Reality Winner's interaction with FBI officials on June 3rd of 2017. Reality Winner was a former American intelligence specialist who was involved in the unauthorized release of government documents to the media about Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. It is a 1-hour 22-minute drama directed by Tina Satter and stars actress Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, and Merchant Davis.

This was a very intense film. Going into it, I didn't really have an idea as to what the film was about. Not being from the United States, I wasn't aware of the story of Reality Winner so I went into this film absolutely blind. And I feel that is one of the reasons why I really enjoyed this film.

It is a really unconventional film, in way that it begins by stating how all the dialogue in the film is based verbatim on the transcript of the recordings that took place on the afternoon of 3rd June 2017. It even starts with the original voice recording and swiftly shifts into the scene with the actors filling in the voices. That is in some ways very astounding because real-life dialogue is extremely different from what film dialogue looks and feels like. This film, however, manages to intensify the dialogue with the help of some brilliant acting and great cinematography.

The majority of the film is essentially the interview of Reality, as these two FBI agents show up on her door trying to get her to 'sit down for a discussion'. It involves strenuously long scenes of tension being built up. It really feels like anything can happen at any moment. Since I wasn't aware of the subject matter of the film, it felt even more intense to watch as I myself wondered if Sydney Sweeney's character was being honest about not knowing anything at all. The camera work and the sound design helped in the suspense. It is all very well made.

The acting in this film deserves a special mention though, it isn't easy to realize scripts. A lot of actors fail in realizing what the script needs from them and it is often that certain sentences are written in a manner and how they are acted out differ quite a bit in the end. The actors in this film managed to take a verbatim transcript and acted it out in such a way that I was hooked. Sydney Sweeney was especially great at her role. She handles the scenes in a way that feels authentic and natural. Even Josh Hamilton and Merchant Davis were really politely intimidating in their roles. The way the initial scenes were pent up with awkward silences and polite small talk really worked into hyping the reveal of the film. It is a massive setup in some ways, and the stylistic choices to do the reveal were really fascinating as well.

For the most part, I really feel that this is a very well-made film on a technical level regardless of the subject matter. The little details in the way the scenes jump cut to the actual Reality Winner's social media page or questions being met with answers immediately through the same fast-paced cuts. It all works in the film's favor to keep the pace and build it up to the maximum. I really enjoyed the anxiety it gave me. I think the reveal was also very well done, maybe not what I was expecting but still eventful and interesting.

If you're interested in three great actors sharing a screen as they go back and forth in awkward inquisitive dialogue, this film would be right up your alley (in a good way.)
I have also decided not to include opinions regarding the political aspect of this film since that is beyond the purview of my reviews on this page.

Final Score – [8.5/10]
Reviewed by - Aayush Chaurasia
Follow @AayushC44 on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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