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Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell (in a strong performance by Paul Walter Hauser, who I remember as the bumbling confederate in the I Tonya) is a wannabe police officer who is working as a security guard at the Atlanta Olympic games. He discovers a bag with explosives and is briefly labeled a hero for saving more people from injury. Soon after, the FBI manufactures a case identifying Richard Jewell as the one who planted the bomb. The story is interesting, although the movie is rather uninteresting. I liked the performances by Hauser and Kathy Bateman, who plays his mother. The part of the story about how the FBI manufactured its case against Richard Jewell in infuriating at times and reminds us how those in power allow their own narratives to be created and how those narratives diffuse into the culture. But those important points were lost in a film that has rather stereotypical and corny dialog in places; it tries too hard to drive its messages home and results in scenes that seem inauthentic and rushed. I felt at times like I was watching the director’s political agenda than the story of a man who was wrongly accused. The result is a story that seems oversimplified. Thank goodness for Hauser’s performance that gives the film some depth. Thumbs up for a film that I don’t think is terrible but whose story is seriously underdeveloped. (2019; 3 stars)

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