An engaging biographical legal drama about a person who averts a major disaster by alerting about a bomb, is hailed as a hero and then gets held up as the prime suspect in the case.
Director – Clint Eastwood
Cast – Paul Walter Hauser, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell,Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Ian Gomez
Richard Jewell (Hauser), who lives with his mother Barbara (Bates), is a thoughtful, loving, kind but a slightly odd man. He obsessively aspires to be a part of law enforcement agencies. He is overtly alert and a stickler for security protocols, laws and rules even at the cost of overstepping his boundaries.
In 1996, while posted as a security guard at the Centennial Park during Olympic Games, his timely alert about a suspected bomb prevented it from becoming a bigger disaster.
Initially hailed as hero by the media, his life takes a disastrous turn when the deadly concoction of overzealous media and enforcement agencies zero down on him as the main suspect.
Avoiding to read much about a film before watching it has a big advantage of intrigue factor even if its a biographical drama. Not knowing the outcome makes the story all the more engrossing.
Eastwood, being a master storyteller, narrates this real story in a suspenseful fashion. He introduces us to the Richard’s character, gives us an all rounded view of his personality including all oddities. He also gives no explanation for some time gaps in Richard’s past. When the agencies zero down on Richard and the investigations begin, Richard’s behaviour and his excessive blabbering keeps us on tenterhooks about his integrity. His lawyer Bryant (Rockwell) is as surprised about some weird revelations as we are.
While you feel exasperated at the media for turning his life into hell, somewhere the makers do not want you to be confident about your conclusion abut Richard.
But when they finally decide to let you see the whole truth and be confident about it, the film makes an immense emotional impact.
Hauser makes a fantastic believable and realistic portrayal of Richard. He makes us a jumble of emotions that includes having our doubts, rolling our eyes and feeling empathy.
I loved Sam Rockwell in an understated and natural portrayal of Bryant.
But its actually Kathy Bates who won all accolades as the Bobi Jewell, the loving, adoring and aggrieved mother. She left us feeling welled up with that short appealing speech.
The film is a must watch for those who love biographical dramas.It’s an engaging and insightful one. Add the fact that it is a Clint Eastwood film and boasts of some pretty fine performances.