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"Snappy, tense, unnerving and unique, Reality offers an astonishing lead performance and several experimental stylistic choices"
Sydney Sweeney in Reality

Based on the true story of Reality Winner and starring Sydney Sweeney, Reality follows the 25-year-old as she returns from running errands to find two FBI agents at her home in Georgia. She spends the next two hours being questioned about her work as an intelligence contractor, and importantly, whether she leaked a classified document. With a swift run-time, stellar lead performance and a tight script, Reality is a must watch.

Sydney Sweeney always delivers exceptional performances, it is by now expected of her. However, her turn as Reality Winner is perhaps her best to date and allows her to do something a little different. She portrays the stress levels that her character is experiencing so well, her steady change from calmness into panic is fantastically done. Challenging her is Josh Hamilton (Eighth Grade) and Merchant Davis (The Day Shall Come), who do well in balancing their kind and calming nature with the need to get their job done and get the truth from Winner. The three work so well together, delivering their sharp script perfectly and keeping us engaged through the dialogue-driven run-time.

What makes Reality so special is that the script is pulled from the actual transcript of the interrogation, helping it feel natural and realistic. The dialogue is exciting and thoroughly engaging at all times. It tells you a lot about Reality as a person so builds her character nicely, and it provides a lot of tension as the interrogation becomes progressively heated. It often plays out like a political thriller, and the fact it's set in one location only adds to that. The room the interrogation takes place in feels claustrophobic, and the characters moving the conversation from the outside to the inside shows how Reality is gradually becoming closed in. At just 83 minutes long, the run-time doesn't hang around and moves at a rapid pace, never overstaying it's welcome.

Sydney Sweeney in Reality

There are a lot of other interesting stylistic choices within Reality. It often reverts from our characters delivering the lines to snippets of the transcript itself. Not only does this remind us how much of the script is actually real, but gives the situation real gravity and adds to the intensity. It redacts information that we're not allowed to hear in a clever way, and adds glitchy digital effects to replicate the recording. The camerawork adds to the claustrophobia by frequently relying on close-ups of our characters, and pans round to the drab room the interview takes place in often. It does a lot with it's particularly short run-time and it works.

When discussing single location movies, Reality is worth being added to the conversation. It's snappy, tense, unnerving and unique, offering an astonishing lead performance and several experimental stylistic choices in its cinematography and editing. It's script is it's shining star, and the gimmick of using the actual transcript never gets old and is what makes it stand out from the rest. It's not perfect, as it's ending feels slightly abrupt and it's a little hard to grasp what's going on for those of us outside the USA without any background knowledge. However, it teaches us about something we likely don't know anything about, and shows flair whilst doing so. You will hit play for Sydney Sweeney, but you'll stay for it's intensity and sharp dialogue.



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