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Richard Jewell Movie Review : Timely and relevant
A security guard becomes a hero after finding an explosive device, but soon comes under scrutiny by the FBI as a prime suspect.

Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) is the security guard who saved many lives by identifying a suspicious package at the Centennial Olympic Park, just before it exploded. But a few days later, he became the prime suspect by the FBI who were able to profile him as a ‘lone bomber.’ Jewell went on to employ Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) as his attorney to defend him against the accusations. The film follows the life of Richard Jewell before and after the explosion, and how he quickly went from being a nation’s hero to their villain.

Although based on the actual events surrounding the bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Clint Eastwood’s masterful direction infuses constant suspense. He allows the audience to become familiar with Richard Jewell, and to get into his mindset. While the screenplay follows the overweight security guard throughout, it’s hard to shake the nagging sense of doubt – was Jewell able to pull off this heinous crime? The uncertainty is expressed by the FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) and picked up by crime journalist Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), who then propagated the suspicion nationwide.

It’s distressing to watch as Jewell’s faith in the uniform diminishes when he sees how the FBI manipulate their positions to suit their narrative. Paul Walter Hauser’s performance humanizes the character – it’s hard not to feel sympathy for him despite his overbearing tendency to extend his own authority recklessly. Sam Rockwell gives another terrific turn as his wise attorney, Bryant, often bringing dark humour to the proceedings. Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde make for a despicable duo as Tom Shaw and Kathy Scruggs, respectively, whose ambitions precede their morals. Kathy Bates is heartbreaking as Richard’s mother Bobi Jewell, who wants her son’s dreams to come true. Their performances are a testament to Eastwood’s ability to extract subtle, yet heartfelt depictions, as he painstakingly weaves the narrative. ‘Richard Jewell’ is a slow burn that examines how media and governments can twist perspectives in the minds of the masses, making it a timely and relevant film.

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Richard Jewell Movie Review : Timely and relevant00