whis•tle•blow•er ˈ(h)wi-səl-ˌblō-ər

variants or whistle-blower plural whistleblowers or whistle-blowers :

one who reveals something covert or who informs against another especially : an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or by other employees to the attention of a government or law enforcement agency

Your stance on whistleblowers may well be aligned to your political views, so they can be construed as either heroes or villains to a certain extent, depending on your leanings.

This superb, fascinating film comes at its material from a truly unique angle, with more of an emotional point of view rather than any kind of political agenda, as it focuses on a snapshot in time for a young woman who suddenly finds herself being interrogated in her own home.

boom reviews Reality
I really hate these family barbecues.

Just returning from a trip to the grocery store is Reality Winner (Sydney Sweeney). To her surprise she is greeted to by two men outside of her property, who soon identity themselves as Special Agent Garrick (Josh Hamilton) and Taylor (Marchánt Davis).

They inform her they have warrants to search her home, her car and herself, but they would also like to ask her a few questions, which she agrees to.

What follows for this young woman is a series of questions that are leading to something regarding her position in government, with the possibility of her breaching protocols as well as being a threat to national security.

boom reviews Reality
As you can see this room is both spacious and bright, and just needs a throw or two to make it comfy.

Tina Satter makes a remarkable directorial debut with this utterly riveting piece of cinema. In truth, it’s not so much about the act of whistle-blowing itself, as it all takes place in one afternoon, 3rd June, 2017.

It focuses on the initial meeting of the FBI agents and Winner, and follows the interview using the actual dialogue lifted from the recordings the agents took at the time. What follows is a remarkable insight into the FBI’s techniques when it comes to interviewing persons of interest.

If what we are to believe from the myriad of thrillers featuring FBI agents on the big screen, they are always portrayed as being pretty aggressive, hard boiled types. In this real life instance, that couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, Winner has two pets in her home, a dog and a cat, that she is genuinely concerned about, with the agents coming across as being completely sympathetic about too. Now this could be real or it could be their way of relating with their subject, in a bid to get her relaxed and on side. Either way it makes for an absorbing watch.

In truth, the only crime that appears to have taken place here was committed by her parents, by giving her a name that is both terrible and unfortunate, considering her punishment, given an extremely harsh jail sentence for the act of putting a sensitive government material in the public domain.

Satter was already familiar with this story, as the film is based on her previously staged play Is This a Room. But where some plays have an awkward transition to the big screen, occasionally coming across as not benefitting in any way from a film adaptation, Reality works impressively well.

Much of this is down to Satter’s direction, which is tight and succinct, as well as how she manages to build a sense of tension out of almost nothing.

You then have its cast, who brilliantly bring this transcribed dialogue to life. None more so than Sweeney, who builds on her magnificent work on the HBO show Euphoria, with a stunning performance as Winner. It’s beautifully layered, subtly so, as she slowly peels back the layers to reveal an extremely intelligent young woman, who quickly finds herself in over her head over after making a mistake at work.

Reality is a compelling interpretation based on the actual transcripts of the day’s events, that gives a fascinating account into the FBI’s interviewing techniques and is a telling insight into how its agents actually behave in the field.

we give this four out of five