Richard Jewell Review Feature Image

Richard Jewell Offers a Jarring Look at the Power of Media

Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good
The cast deliver very strong performances
The movie keeps things simple
The Bad
The script isn't particularly rivetting
Like all "true stories" there's still quite a bit of BS
Not particularly the strongest Eastwood entry

Richard Jewell, like the very many “true story” movies that have come before and will continue to be produced, stands on its own feet of poignancy.

Following the media aftermath and investigation of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, Richard Jewell focuses on the security officer who discovered the bomb in question. Made a primary suspect of the attack, Jewell’s true trial arrived at the hands of the media which implicated and sought to bring his life under public scrutiny.

Though exonerated soon after, Jewell’s tale has long been a representation of the power of media, and the social trials it can conduct when carelessly handled.

Effectively wrapping the events within its narrative, the strength of the movie rests on the actors’ delivery of their script. Breakthrough star Paul Walter Hauser not only keeps the character’s likability ambiguous, but also hold his own alongside heavy-hitters such as Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, and Jon Hamm.

The movie, unfortunately, falls prey to its own message, electing to demonise an individual–Kathy Scruggs, as played by Olivia Wilde–as opposed to highlighting the malicious enthusiasm of the media.

In the experienced hands of director Clint Eastwood, Richard Jewell is certainly an interesting, if not succinct, telling of the incident. However, it still stands somewhat ironically in how the film has, to a lesser degree, committed the same mistakes of Jewell’s would-be prosecutors.

While it is not uncommon for “true story” adaptations to take artistic license with the depiction of certain characters, Richard Jewell ultimately condemns certain people involved in the actual incident.

Obviously, the fictional take on these characters are not nearly as condemning as what the actual Jewell had to suffer, it still remains that, ultimately, “non-fiction” movies should be recognised for what they truly are: the expression of imagination for the purpose of entertainment.

Richard Jewell releases on the 9th of January, and is befitting a watch to bring the Skywalker season to a close.

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