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Discussion in 'Movies' started by ScottJH, Oct 3, 2019.
I never did make it out to see this movie. Oh well, I'll get the 4K Digital of it.
I saw this today and I liked it, mostly for the performances. Rockwell, Bates, Hamm and Wilde were good as usual, but that was not a surprise. because they are well-known and almost always good. Paul Walter Hauser as Richard Jewell was the revelation in this film. He was very good in I Tonya, BlacKkKlansman, and Late Night in supporting roles, and it was a delight to see him front and center here in a terrific lead role that he could really sink his teeth into and shine in. He deserves to become a star off of this film.
I thought that the script was a little overly simplistic and lacking nuance.
The message seemed to be "Oh, look at how the FBI and media ruined this poor man's life. It's not incorrect, but the script paints the FBI in particular as the bad guys here, and I don't think that's entirely fair. While there were mistakes made with how the investigation was handled, I don't think they should be vilified for doing their jobs. While we know that Jewell didn't do it, it's entirely reasonable for them to look at him; it got out of hand and shouldn't have, but if he had been the bomber and they didn't look, that would have been equally problematic. So it's a situation in which wrong things were done, but I don't think the entire idea of the investigation was out of line, and it feels like the movie just wants to paint those opposing Jewell as the Bad Guys. I think a more fleshed-out script with the others written in a more complex manner might have been an even more interesting movie.
But it was still good and I'm glad I saw it. I'd probably give it a solid B. It's probably the least distinguished thing of Eastwood's directing career that I have seen, but that's still pretty good.
I found this film profoundly and devastatingly sad; because of Jewell's fate during and after these events, and because of Paul Walter Hauser's fantastic performance. It's not showy; it's just endearingly human.But the fates will probably conspire against his nomination. There is nothing subtle about Eastwood's demonization of both the FBI and the Media in this; and you don't need any empty chair on stage to see whose side that speaks to at this particular juncture in history.
I can understand the outrage over Scrugg's portrayal; some calling it plain misogynistic, others just over-the-top rabid cliche. My first reaction was, hey, it's just a portrayal of a 'character,' lighten up. But then you find out Scruggs basically got the same judgmental treatment that Jewell did after the fiasco, and died... a year younger than he did, at 43. That is beyond ironic. And where's her movie?
In the end, as just a film, I found it a really worthwhile and compelling story, and if you were a news junkie during that time, you also felt a bit of shame; because we were all on that jump-to-conclusion bandwagon. I remember thinking him the obvious choice suspect. And I doubt I ever read the retractions or clarifications on page 6. But the media was ultimately just following the investigation events, and the investigation was rawly human, as well. And after all, is there anything more American than competition to get the story first, with railroading a possible outcome, and it's oh so hard to back a train up once that steam gets going. Eastwood took us on that ride.