1676762889 Reality Review Sydney Sweeney Stuns in Single Room Whistleblower Fact Based

‘Reality’ Review: Sydney Sweeney Stuns in Single Room Whistleblower Fact-Based Thriller

Reality Review Sydney Sweeney Stuns in Single Room Whistleblower Fact Based

A young woman sits in a gray office – crammed from her desk – as Fox News announces that Donald Trump has just fired FBI Director James Comey, allegedly over his investigation into how Russian interference in the 2016 election likely benefited the 45th President . 25 days later, the same woman returns to her home in Augusta, Georgia to find two FBI agents with a search warrant on her property. She doesn’t look surprised. Within 80 minutes, this former Air Force man and NSA translator will have received the harshest punishment ever for leaking government information to the media without authorization.

The woman—blonde bun, jean shorts, fresh and unassuming demeanor—is Reality Winner (all in all, a ridiculously ironic name). Tina Satter’s fascinating directorial debut takes her startling indiscretion and turns it into a sort of horror film about the ramifications of Doing The Right Thing in the face of the United States’ surveillance system: a David and Goliath tale in which the stronger force throws stones straight back in the face of the underdog. “Reality” is not only inventively edited and extraordinarily gripping, it also proves over 85 gripping minutes what we already knew deep down: that Sydney Sweeney is the real deal.


Adapted from her own Off-Broadway play, Is This A Room, the film – in a touch of genius used in the play – takes its dialogue directly from a 107-minute audio transcript released June 3 Recorded in 2017, agents Wallace Taylor (Marchánt Davis) and Justin Garrick (Josh Hamilton) interrogated Winner over alleged misuse of classified information. Approaching its grand revelation through surreally clumsy conversation, “Reality” is captivating and deceptively layered, detailing both the FBI’s incredibly ingenious interrogation tactics and Sweeney’s extraordinary range.

Central to the film’s odd and driving appeal is Winner herself, who is both an ordinary American and an enigma extraordinary. She’s patriotic, athletic, teaches yoga, stops dogs, has military connections and a crucifix on the wall; She is also fluent in Farsi, Dari and Pashto, has three guns (including a pink AR-15 rifle) and a Holy Quran decorated with pink Post-Its. She’s kind, docile, and all-American, which only makes her story more compellingly bizarre. It’s not exactly the girl-bossification of spying: When she says she “wasn’t trying to be a Snowden or anything,” we believe her.

We follow Winner in a film that is essentially both a chamber drama and a one-space thriller: three characters, rising suspense, rising desperation. While the FBI agents try to ease Winner’s nerves with polite conversation and calm demeanor – if “act calm” means acting like you’ve just been told a meteor is about to hit Earth, but you must not tell anyone – We are privy to almost real time how Winner was encouraged to confess to her crime. The crime consisted that, out of a sense of duty to the American people who had been lied to, she printed out an intelligence report explaining that Russian hackers had accessed electoral rolls in the United States using an email phishing operation and pocketed the paper in pantyhose and sent it to the nonprofit news organization The Intercept.

After finding acclaim as a flighty, flirtatious teenager on “Euphoria” and “The White Lotus,” and starring in the intelligent erotic thriller “The Voyeurs,” Sweeney is more than ready to step into the spotlight as a leading man. But ahead of upcoming Marvel tentpole Madame Web, she’s deftly made an indie that celebrates her extraordinary talents and wide-eyed sympathy. As proven on “Reality” and elsewhere, the actress is just so good at acting like she’s on the verge of a freakout — she’s never been happier, thank you — and here are her slightly flushed cheeks, those in a panic Panicking only gets more convincing as Satter tumbles her magnification class of a camera into boxier and boxier close-ups.

The first-time director makes the proceedings seem both genuinely frightening and absurdly mundane with sudden, frightening bursts of noise and jarring cuts; She also employs an intriguing method of filming the redacted aspects of the transcript through terrifying quasi-jumpcuts. It shows us an interrogation, an exchange in and of itself primed for cinematic dramatization, but here wiped with Hollywood sheen. Because the script is almost verbatim from the true incident, the resulting conversations are repetitive in an oddly lifelike, intriguing way. By weaving in and recreating real-life audio and photographs, Satter’s work feels almost documentary.

It’s just a small tale in a sustained tide of corruption during the Trump era, but Reality Winner is proof alone that even the most dedicated and patriotic Americans have been sick to the teeth from the hallucinogenic babble of the endless Fox News babble . Given her increasing helplessness and anger at the government’s cover-ups, and her insider’s view of where the truth really lies, it’s easy to see how she eventually went berserk and undid years of painstaking work to maintain the top-secret security clearance.

And while this may be the most brutal example of the old “lace is sewn” adage (Winner was sentenced to five years and three months in prison), Satter carefully reveals the growing tension and mania behind the whole debacle with a fresh point of view: not a mere one Gimmick, but a unique, pint-sized take on the saturated canon of whistleblower thrillers flipping through the cabinet.

Grade: A-

“Reality” premiered at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival. It is currently looking for distribution.