The film is brilliantly directed and reminds us a lot of XY Chelsea, but one has the impression that Reality is overtaken by events, at least that is how the director brilliantly films the character played by Sydney Sweeney. We are immersed in this search and we wonder if there has not been an error, if the FBI has not taken the wrong address… And this question which comes up constantly: “If you want, we have a mandate, we have a mandate…“. They have an unsettling way of doing things, and that’s an effective method in itself for interrogation.
An achievement full of symbolism
The intriguing behind the scenes of the making of the film Reality are imbued with a captivating blend of authentic story and theatrical exploration. Tina Satter, famous for her plays, took her first steps in the world of cinema by adapting the true story of Reality Winner, a whistleblower turned protagonist of an intense thriller. By drawing on the theatrical adaptation Is This A Room, previously staged on Broadway, Tina captured the essence of the stutters, coughing fits and censored moments that pepper the original record. This administrative document of the FBI, at first sight routine, acquires a striking cinematographic force in the hands of the director. In a quest for truth, the film exposes the unusual communication techniques employed in this affair, adding a fascinating dimension to this exploration of reality and appearances.
The audacious choice of Sydney Sweeney to play the title role, Reality Winner, turns out to be a masterstroke. With his participation in such renowned series as The White Lotus, Euphoria And The Handmaid’s Tale, she was able to embody the complex essence of the protagonist. Her deep engagement with the character, nourished by exchanges with Reality Winner herself, made it possible to capture the nuances and contradictions that characterize this young woman emblematic of the American youth of 2017. This intensive immersion allowed the actress to accurately reproduce the intonations and emotions of Reality Winner, giving the film a remarkable authenticity. The emotional dimension of the film was accentuated by a fruitful visual collaboration between Tina Satter and director of photography Paul Yee. Together they managed to strike a fine balance between dramatic tension and raw reality, giving the viewer a visual and sensory dive into Reality Winner’s tormented mind throughout his interrogation.
Film an interrogation and try not to make it boring
One of the most significant aspects of the realization of Reality lies in the innovative use of staging to reflect the reality and surrection of the interrogation. Tina Satter opted for striking bursts of color to highlight the redacted portions of the FBI document, creating surreal moments that highlight the unusual interrogation techniques. Aesthetic choices, such as slowing down the officers’ speech during oddly humorous sequences, helped keep audiences engaged and reveal the hidden dimensions of the case. The film thus transcends the limits of the documentary, plunging the spectators into the mysterious depths of the interrogation and bringing to light hitherto unexplored elements. Through this cinematic work, Tina Satter and her team have managed to bring a gripping story to life while honoring the reality and truth that surrounds it, providing audiences with a rich and emotional cinematic experience.
We really feel that they are trying little by little to dismantle any possible defense on the part of the defendant… while asking each time: ” You agree…“As everything is recorded, this serves as proof that the presence of a lawyer was not requested by the defendant – in the case of an interrogation of this type, it is borderline suicidal to agree to do so without being accompanied of a fair defense–, Reality appears here as someone very easily influenced, seeming above all to be a curious translator and not an activist. Looking at this complex character, one cannot help but make the connection with the richard jewell affaira young man in love with morals who wants to help, but who will gradually find himself accused of terrorism.
Reality is the perfect image of the person discovering classified information, but whose curiosity will push him to go beyond his clearance. The strangest thing about this film is to see the young translator excessively using google translation on confidential documents… knowing that this software stores the history of the various actions carried out on its server. Is this overzealous on the part of the FBI? Printing a classified document or using google translation all day, which is more serious? Be that as it may, this film reveals rather vicious, even perverse interrogation methods under the pretext of the USA PATRIOT Act.
August 16, 2023 indoors / 1h 22min / Drama, Biopic
By Tina Satter
By Tina Satter, James Paul Dallas
With Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, Marchant Davis