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Were it not for the transcripts, Reality would be a more straightforward addition to the already-oversaturated true crime genre. Satter’s handling of the material and Sweeney’s performance, however, bring this into a more intriguing space where questions of narrative truth, perception and the punishment for honesty are addressed.
Reality might have benefited from widening the play’s tight, almost-claustrophobic focus a little bit more for this medium, but what’s there remains stark and compelling, with Sweeney’s discomfort speaking volumes even though the character says very little.
Reality transcends staginess as a strikingly well-realised piece of filmmaking, using judicious sound design and expressive lighting to gain a surreally vivid edge.