Richard Jewell (2019)

(Last Updated On: December 20, 2020)

Title: Richard Jewell

Year: 2019

Genre: Biography | Crime | Drama |

Runtime: 131 min

Director:  Clint Eastwood

Starring:  Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Stanley


7,5/10

After foiling a bomb attack at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics security guard Richard Jewell is an instant hero, however when the FBI leaks to the media that he is a suspect in the bombing his life becomes a nightmare.

CLEAN STORY, SHORTCUTS, AND STRONG LEADS

We are all familiar with the directional style of Clint Eastwood. There’s no secret that he’s master storytelling, making the story float naturally. Building the tense for each act where the character’s story progress organic. Stories that don’t have a good story or any character development shouldn’t be considered a good film. What is the point, otherwise?

The story unveils Richard Jewell, a security guard with admiration to become a police officer, as the prime suspect in the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during 1996.  Richard Jewell is portrayed by Paul Walter Hauser, as a geeky obese officer living with his mother and tries to the right by a pledge for law and order.  The mother is played by Kathy Bates and Jewell’s attorney role went to Sam Rockwell. The relentless FBI-Agent Tom Shaw that hunts Jewell is dreadfully played by Jon Hamm.

He’s portrayed with no characteristics or personality. The same goes with the stalking journalist Kathy Scruggs, a role by Olivia Wilde who is tedious just like Hamm’s performance. Jon Hamm’s character Tom Shaw is a composite character, and it shows as he lacks interest in the film. Even if he is a supporting character, he feels bland to the story and exists only as a tool to drive the story forward. An antagonist that does not change or progress in an interesting way. Wilde’s journalist performance is unconvincing and does not have the implication of a journalist. She comes to sense in the final act but it’s not enough to make her performance more convincing.

The story is plain and simple. Paul, Kathy, and Sam make the film interesting and keep the story alive as it’s intended. The story makes the FBI and the media the antagonist. But the media pushes the story about Richard Jewell and overstep the boundaries concerning the ethics and morality in this case, which is clearly exaggerated. The media in the film is portrayed with a greedy look only to earn money which certainly is the case here. The frenzy and chaos media created is without a doubt a horrifying truth to be told and shown.

The direction is spot on during the whole movie and it becomes easy to actually invest time and emotion to these characters during the runtime. Even though there are annoying shortcuts that have been taken, that could be underwhelming concerning the story, it still completes each arc with a grander gesture. It has a good pace overall and nothing initially feels force or out of place. The cat and rat game by the second and third act gives a speculative timeline, but it provides details on the story either way. Clint Eastwood knows how to direct the story in a way that feels compelling, even with the weak supporting roles performance and the unappealing set design that transfer you to the nineties, it’s a solid story about a man wrongfully accused and the FBI knew about it.

In the end, this is a decent film with a compelling story. It lacks some depth at some details, horrible visuals, and actors that do not give it all but it a film worth watching.

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Marcus J. Ström
Marcus J. Ström
Marcus Ström | Journalist/writer and Chief Editor.


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