Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Review: Richard Jewell

Release date: December 13, 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Walter Hauser

Richard Jewell is a new drama / thriller about the Olympic security guard that discovered a bomb during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  Although the bomb eventually went off, killing two people and injuring one hundred, Jewell's quick thinking and relentless procedural diligence greatly reduced the severity of the attack.  However, the tables quickly turn on Mr. Jewell when the FBI begins to investigate the man as the perpetrator of the attack, turning the lauded hero into a media villain overnight.  

The main standout of this film is the phenomenal cast and acting.  Every character in Richard Jewell is perfectly cast and the performances from that cast are perfect.  Sam Rockwell is a revelation as lawyer Watson Bryant, a hard-headed attorney that knew Jewell before the incident and fights tooth and nail against the investigation.  Kathy Bates was also a surprising bright spot as Jewell's mother.  She captivates the audience in pretty much every scene she is in and her emotional scenes are painful to watch.  Paul Walter Hauser is perfect as Jewell, and does an amazing, believable performance as the man.  

However, despite the fantastic acting, the movie itself is just not very interesting.  Although the first part of the movie is intense and will keep you on the edge of your seat, after the initial incident the movie transforms into more of a police procedure film.  Despite what the amazing trailer would have you believe, the film itself quickly slows down.  There is plenty to follow and enough potential investigative misconduct to keep you guessing, but overall this shift is just not that entertaining as a whole.  And the parts that are investigative misconduct seem like one offs; they aren't very eye catching and there is no major incident that sticks with you.  On top of this, the editing seems to be off.  Perhaps the movie was trimmed for time, but the timeline occasionally jumps with little change to the characters or overall scenery.  In one part the film jumps 10 years but the characters look the same.  And in other parts new, seemingly important characters were in scenes without any introduction or idea who they were.  And, as interesting as Jewell's character is, he is kind of an unlikable one.  He seems to keep sabotaging himself and not listening to even the simplest advice.  I imagine this is to keep the film true to the original story and characters, but sometimes a little Hollywood magic would have made the film a more entertaining endeavor.  

Richard Jewell is a compelling story about a man who went from hero to villain overnight, and the effect that can have on your life and beliefs.  It has a strong cast, a commitment to realism, and absolutely stellar performances by the main characters.  

Rent It

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