Richard Jewell (2019)

Rating: 7.5/10

Richard Jewell is the true story of a security guard who found a bag containing pipe bombs at the 1996 Olympics moments before it explodes. Thanks to Jewell’s ingenuity, only 2 people were killed in the incident. He was a hero, but that didn’t keep the media from vilifying him when the FBI starts investigating Jewell as a possible suspect.

This movie shows just how easily people are manipulated by the media, and how someone who was seen as a hero can be just as quickly vilified as things just start spiraling out of control. This is the story of how one man with a crappy life just gets even crappier after he does something heroic.

Though the messages in this film are powerful ones, they faintly echo the same messages found in Joker of how one person can be seen as both a villain and a hero in the eyes of the media and just how much people’s decisions can be made through such a powerful force. It’s not this film’s fault that it came out the same year as Joker which is highly praised, and a much stronger film, while this one is seemingly ignored in the light of it.

The acting in this film was phenomenal, especially from Sam Rockwell who comes on as a strong force as Jewell’s friend and lawyer who’s trying to help him out through this crisis. Kathy Bates as well has an especially strong part as Richard’s mother, though her part is much smaller than anyone else in the principal cast I can still see why she’s gotten the Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in this film. Truthfully, had this film come out any other year in the past decade, I think it would have gotten a lot more Oscar attention than that, but it’s just up against so many strong films this year it’s easy to see why this film has gone to the wayside.

One final complaint as I forgot to mention it above, but this film is too long. It’s really not a story that has enough substance to film 2-hours worth of material. So what do you do? Well, what you should do is maybe add a side story or two, but here they decided instead to have elongated sequences of Jewell driving his car, or multiple scenes reiterating the exact same problems as the scene before it. This doesn’t even happen that much and easily could have been cut out. I think 90 minute movies are perfectly fine. I don’t know why filmmaker’s think that’s too short nowadays.

SCORING:

+8: A really good film with a strong message that’s only really lacking in a few places,

+1: Very good acting from all involved, espeically Bates and Rockwell

-1.5: Too much bloat, and considering how bloated some movies are I wouldn’t mind 60 minute movies either. We could bring Double-Features back if films that short became more popular

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