We have all seen how the Lady Justice was blindfolded, with the scales of justice and the sword of truth. That’s the biggest question we can ask ourselves: Why is she wearing a bandage? Some argue that it is necessary to eliminate all forms of prejudice that may influence the course of a case in order to protect the impartiality of justice from all possible external factors, while others see the blindfold as a precaution for the victims, according to which there will be times when even the law will never be to their advantage. In the case of Richard Jewell, another novelty in Clint Eastwood’s film universe that focuses on small heroes, the hypocrisy of the media and law enforcement is dead and at the center of the zero measurement, both in terms of the tangible impact on the lives of the man whose only desire is to save the lives of many people, and in terms of how the actions and decisions of the media and law enforcement have acted unfairly against the true American blue hero.
Based on a 1997 article by Marie Brenner, the film revolves around the protagonist (Paul Walter Hauser) before, during and after the explosion in Sentenial Park, in which Jewell discovered an unusual package that was later confirmed to contain explosives and evacuated many of the bodies present at the Jack Mack concert and the Heart Storm. The Sentenial Park security guard gets a brief moment where everyone honors him as a hero, before he is taken away after the FBI considered him a prime suspect when he became the center of many press agencies in the United States and abroad. Angry Jewell, who has always had respect and admiration for law enforcers such as the police and the FBI, turned to her mother Boby (Kathy Bates) and attorney Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) for emotional comfort and legal representation.
Richard Jewell notes all the boxes in Clint Eastwood’s biopic: Reflections on the consequences of individual and societal choices, reflections on honour, offense and violence (in this case a more psychological form of violence rooted in the decisions of press agencies such as the Atlanta Journal and the FBI), and the emotional struggle of a person whose claim to innocence has been tainted by unforeseen circumstances. However, the film goes beyond the contradictions and humanism that have always been part of the story of Eastwood (of which his latest film Fifteen from 2018):17 in Paris and Moul); Rather, it is an analysis of the cynicism justified by the media and the research bureau, in which both parties, who had to be impartial and reasonable, questioned and ridiculed a man who only wanted to save innocent lives and do the work assigned to him, It was only because his physical characteristics and social status corresponded to a particular form, observed profiles similar to his own, that Jewell, like these other profiles, was meant to seek attention and fame for his personal satisfaction The film is the culmination of Eastwood’s other works. This time it’s about getting the right mix of sympathy and leaving the audience with questions that can provoke conversation and debate. Eastwood feeds its latest tribute to American heroes with passion and care. With the help of screenwriter Billy Ray, known for his brilliant work in Paul Gringrass’s Captain Phillips and his directorial debut in Broken Glass, Eastwood lets growing tensions blossom and grow until one man immediately suffocates over a story that surpasses him. It advances the story and characters and ensures that every detail and every aspect that the film brings to the screen is well exposed. Richard Jewell’s greatest success is not only that he tells the story of an American hero who suffered great injustice at the hands of the press and government; his success is that Eastwood makes viewers understand that the film reflects and abhors events in our society, that hatred, intolerance and false news existed long before our generation, whose interpretative activities allowed such a negative to spread throughout our world.
The film is difficult to support with a set of strong actors who take the emotional and dramatic weight of the film on their shoulders. Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and John Hamm emphasize the individual challenges their heroes face: a lawyer at a struggling law firm, a career journalist and an investigator with a struggling case. Kathy Bates, the mother of the character of the same name, tears your heart out as she expresses her concern and love for her son, who was placed at the forefront of the character’s murder. And although all these characters appeal to the imagination in an incredible way, it is Paul Walter Hauser, the pearl of Eastwood, who has become a real man, whom he shows on the big screen. Many people knew Hauser because he worked as a comedy writer with characters from I, Tonya and Black Klansman; in Richard Jewell he kept his among his more experienced fellow actors not to exceed the expectations of a metamorphosis into a man whose life was completely ruined by the humiliation of his good deeds. His performance is not only full of subtlety and aggressiveness, which creates layers and layers of emotion through his vulnerability, but it is also the right characteristic of the figure he depicts, from the movement and cognitive processes to the actions he performs. The crime was committed against Hauser because he did not make enough critical distinctions for the nuances and bravery of the man of the moment.
Richard Jewell isn’t handsome, not too far from him. But these are necessary images that people around the world need to see to make small incisions where change is needed. As in any Eastwood film about American heroes, Richard Jewell lets such changes flourish and transforms them into something meaningful, something that unites and reveals the meaning of humanity, and how every action, no matter how careful or careless, can change a person’s life forever. It is a brutal and cold reminder of humanity (or the lack thereof) in each of us. Richard Jewell is not only a story of heroic sacrifice, but a complex and compassionate study of heroism, humanism and slander, wrapped up in this huge ball of successive explosions that his main character completes, and how many officials and journalists have dared to whisper and occupy Jewell, many of them, who will look at the gems, whether or not you have witnessed the tragedy, whether or not you have experienced what he has experienced, will understand that there are injustices in the world, that there are people who are losing us and questioning the humanity of the world, but we must put an end to it ourselves. Richard Jewell took pain and suffering for us. Let’s not take his ballad for granted.
Richard Jewell, distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Photos, is currently shown in cinemas all over the country.
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