Film Review: Reality

The Grim Reality of Politics: Review by Sara Darling

If you’re not familiar with the premise of Reality Winner’s crime, this review comes with a big spoiler alert. The film, simply named Reality, lends itself to the lifestyle choices of the woman that it was named after, and is a true story of 26- year-old, US intelligence officer and translator, Winner, who was confronted by the FBI at her home in Georgia in 2017. 

Part documentary (the facts are taken from the actual recorded dialogue from the interrogation), Winner (played superbly by impeccably innocent seeming, Sydney Sweeney) as two federal agents, Garrick (Josh Hamilton) and Taylor (Marchánt Davis) lead her a merry, yet deadpan dance. It’s almost comical the way that the inspectors pastiche bad cop, good cop, and you almost have to check yourself to remember this is the real conversation that took place on that feted day. 

It’s not until about two thirds of the way through the entire film, until we realise that the cops actually know what they are talking about and have had a reason to play dumb. Until then, Winner has acted blase, showing concern for her dog, without a hint of her own fortune. 

However, the cat and mouse chase culminates when the officers get to the nitty gritty and start asking direct questions concerning a leaked classified report about Russian interference in U.S. elections. Here the plot starts to make sense, and we can see how the build up has been pathing the way for this expose. The cops know that Winter knows why they are there, but had to act their part first, and form a semblance of a relationship, whilst as a viewer, we can see how it has worked. 

Above all, Reality does an impeccable job of showcasing the power of US politics and how seriously the President is protected. Bearing in mind, this was a 25 year old girl who was imprisoned for whistle-blowing, this case brought to light the extent to which the Trump administration was prepared to go to chase down whistleblowers using the Espionage Act, a draconian measure passed in 1917; instead of less harsh laws crafted to penalise leakers.

Winner was sentenced to five years in 2018, after being convicted of leaking the report. Aged 26, she was the first person charged by the Trump administration under the Espionage Act over a document leak. She pleaded guilty as part of a deal.

As a lesson in Big Brother watching you, this film is exemplary. The crime of whistle-blowing is a hot topic at the moment, and this brave, plotless movie is a true story that will resonate with anyone who has interest in politics. 

REALITY is in cinemas NOW

Sara Darling

Sara Darling is a freelance travel, fashion and lifestyle writer. In a previous life she was a fashion luvvie, but quit to follow her gypsy soul! When she is not clutching her passport, microphone or glass of fizz, she can be found avec snorkel in exotic oceans, scouring international flea markets for covetable jewellery, watching indie films or checking out photography exhibitions and wishing she could take a better picture. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram on @wordsbydarling and @1stclassdarling