Another Biopic, Another Gut Wrenching Story of injustice and persecution. I still love this genre, but I really wish January would give us something cheery-er
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood
STARRING: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates
SCREENPLAY: Billy Ray
GENRE: Biography, Drama
RUNTIME: 131 Minutes
★★★ 3.5 Stars
Next in the long line up of biopics this month, this film already has a lot of competition to stand out from. We have seen a lot of these kinds of films in January , some great, some not do great. For me this one ended up somewhere in the middle.
During the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a bomb is set off in Centennial park, that injures 100 people and kills 2. Richard Jewell, the security guard who discovers the bomb, is initially treated as a hero. But once the media discover the FBI is looking at him as a suspect, the story creates a media frenzy and he finds himself the focus of the FBI investigation, and they are determined to find him guilty.
Good Lord January, can we please have a film thats a bit more light hearted. Hard hitting biopics seem to be the only thing out there at the moment. And after such offerings as Just Mercy and 1917 for me Richard Jewell ended up just kind of average. The main problem for me was the pace. I definitely feel the editing could have been a bit tighter. The odd dream sequence wasn’t needed, the scene in the college didnt really need to be there. There were times I caught myself checking the time, and that shouldn’t be happening.
The actual performances though were all pretty top notch. Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser both do spectacular jobs as our leading men. And it is nice to see Hauser get out from under the comedy rock her has been living under for a while and give us something that is dramatic and impactful. Yes, there are moments of humour in the film, and it needs that in order to lighten the mood every now and then, but the humour is well used and never seems out of place. Kathy Bates also gives us a great show as Bobbi, Richeards mother. And while she did have a lot of the more emotional scenes, and in true form, delivered them perfectly, I don’t know if it is worthy of the Oscar nomination she has been given for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ Especially considering some of the other performances we have seen in the last 12 months.
Olivia Wilde was done a serious disservice here. She was given a character no one is going to like and reduced to a stereotype. All Kathy is there to do is serve as another villain for you to root against. A women who will f*** or Bribe anyone to get the best story and is very unapologetic and actually quite aggressive about it, a huge waste of Wilde’s acting talent, and not really a character the story needed. She gets a small redemption bit at the end, but it’s all too little to late.
A very good biopic, but in a month full of them, this one failed to really hit the mark for me.
Richard Jewell is in UK cinemas on the 31st January