Friday, December 13, 2019

Richard Jewell Movie Review

Paul Walter Hauser stars as/in Richard Jewell

Saint or Savage?

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on true events, "Richard Jewell" is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. "There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes." The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing - his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI's number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client's name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

Starring: Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell, alongside Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde

What's Good: The first 30-40 minutes are really good, as is Rockwell throughout (Oscar-worthy, in fact.) Hauser is effective as the titular character, despite an almost Forest Gump delivery, and Bates is solid as ever. Great pace early on, and then...

What's Not: The final hour and a half is slow. Really slow. Eastwood's demonization of the FBI and press is blatant (and apparently controversial) but didn't bother me at all. What did? Repetitive attacks on a seemingly defenseless simpleton who lives with his Mom. It gets old fast.

Budget: N/A

Runtime: 129 minutes (Post-bombing takes up way too much time.)

Target Audience: People who appreciate superheroes without a cape.

Bottom Line: Mother (Bates) knows best, "You picked the right lawyer, Richard." Rockwell's performance is worth the price of admission, especially when he puts his foot down, "Come on by, we validate!" Without him, Eastwood's attack on Jewell's naysayers weighs heavy, especially across a 2+ hour runtime.

Grade: C+