Richard Jewell: Movie Review

Heroism and conspiracies abound. "Richard Jewell" presents a nightmare scenario where an innocent man is being railroaded as the primary suspect in an act of terror. As expected, there are a lot of character drama in this Clint Eastwood directed affair. But besides its deep emotional core, there is a crucial missing piece in its narrative to truly make this experience stand out.
Richard Jewell finds the explosive device used at the 1996 Atlanta bombing - which made him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the hero becomes the FBI’s number one suspect due to his unusual past. As his life tumbles into chaos, Jewell reaches out to attorney Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) to help him out. Even though Jewell professes his innocence, Bryant finds that the battle ahead will be almost impossible to overcome as he and Jewell fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI, and APD.
"Richard Jewell" won some but lost some. It's an emotional, dramatic affair that successfully shows the injustice that Jewell and his mother faced when he became the primary suspect in the 1996 Atlanta bombing. But the film came out as incomplete and simplified. For the film to feel authentic, the truth shouldn't come out as black-and-white but "Richard Jewell" lacked that greyish middle ground that could have elevated it to greater heights. What we mean by this is that the film is about Richard Jewell as a person, as a son, as a law-abiding citizen but it never explored the inner workings why the FBI seemed to be dead set to frame an innocent man to a heinous crime. The authorities' initial motivations were explained but never really expounded on and we never get a chance to see why the FBI really believes Richard Jewell is guilty. The film also explored the effect and power the media has on spreading lies and ruining lives and the need to be responsible with that kind of power. It's an interesting topic but nothing new if we are being honest. On the acting department, the film showcased memorable and outstanding performances from Kathy Bates, Paul Walter Hauser and Sam Rockwell. Kathy Bates in particular simply swept us away with a moving performance especially near the end of the film. Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm had okay performances but nothing out of the ordinary. "Richard Jewell", even with its deficiencies, came out to be an emotional and moving film only limited by average writing.
Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- Emotionally riveting
- Top-notch acting from Paul Walter Hauser, Kathy Bates and Sam Rockwell

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the narrative felt simplified especially to those going against Richard Jewell

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
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