Hero or villain?

Richard Jewell shares the painful story of a falsely accused man

The new movie Richard Jewell takes the cake as the best movie of the month by far. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something to do over winter break.
*****/5

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The new movie Richard Jewell takes the cake as the best movie of the month by far. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something to do over winter break. *****/5

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Everyone has had a dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up when they were a little kid. Whether it was an astronaut or a ballerina, this fantasy contributes greatly to how a person lives their life. For Richard Jewell, all he ever wanted to do was work for the police force. However, unfortunate events lead him to question whether the policemen are the good guys or the bad guys.

The movie Richard Jewell shares the true story of the security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) who is working the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when he spots a “suspicious” looking backpack under a bench. He helps to clear people out of the way before the explosion of the bomb, deeming him a hero, however his reputation quickly fades when he becomes the FBI’s number one bomber suspect.

I was originally drawn to this movie because it is packed full of some of my favorite actors. Hauser has starred in some of my favorite movies and tv shows such as I, Tonya and Cobra Kai. It was interesting to watch him tackle a more serious role because in everything else I have seen him in he always serves as the comic relief. Overall, I think it worked well because although the movie dealt with very heavy topics, Hauser was able to provide more light-hearted comical moments. However, it was Sam Rockwell who played attorney Watson Bryant that really pushed this movie over the edge for me. His performance was amazing in the film and his hot-headed temper had me laughing up a storm after every line.

Despite many humorous moments throughout, the film was still intensely emotional and had me crying only halfway through. I watched as one man who wanted nothing more than to be a part of the police force get harassed by them for months of his life. Although there was a total lack of evidence in the case against Richard, the FBI agents attempted to constantly trick him into admitting to a crime that he didn’t commit. It was absolutely devastating to watch a good man get ripped to shreds by the press and the police force who worked tirelessly to make him look guilty. 

Furthermore, Richard never once gets angry at them or questions their motives. I wanted to scream at him so many times to stick up for himself, but then I remembered that I was just in a movie theater. Sadly, he still sees the FBI as the good guys who were just trying to do their jobs. On the other hand, I saw them as corrupt agents who were trying to pin the bombing on someone as quickly as possible so the Olympics could continue without fear, even if that means a lack of research or evidence. A big turning point in the film is when Richard finally decides he wants to start fighting back against everyone after an emotional conversation with his mom Bobi Jewell (Kathy Bates). It was relieving to watch him take control of the situation that had gotten extremely out of hand.

Unfortunately, the film has sparked a major controversy when the Atlanta Journal expressed its disdain towards the movie for depicting journalist Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) as having seduced an FBI agent in order to get information. I can see how the newspaper might take offense to this, but while watching the movie I was under the impression that Scruggs and agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) had a sexual relationship prior to the exchanging of information. This was made clear to me since the beginning of the movie when they were already very flirtatious with each other.

Out of all the movies I have seen recently, Richard Jewell has been my favorite by far. The star-studded cast knocked it out of the park with their character interpretations and made every moment compelling. By the end of the film, I was in tears and felt like I had been on the emotional roller coaster along with Jewell. In my mind, any film that has the power to make me feel so attached to the main character to the point where I’m feeling everything they’re feeling is definitely a film worth seeing.