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Criticism | The Richard Jewell Case

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Criticism | The Richard Jewell Case

Popularized in the last decade, "post-truth" is nothing but a recent term to categorize, among other things, the uncertainties spread by fake news and other means of misinformation that appeal to public preconceptions. But it would be naive to believe that, like the phrase, such uncertainties are also recent: lack of conviction in information has always persisted as a possibility, only times have changed. Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell Case studies one of the milestones that signal this transition between times.

In 1996, during the Atlanta Olympics, watchman Richard Jewell spotted an explosive backpack planted under a bench in crowded Centennial Park, and his swift reporting prevented the imminent detonation of its components that killed more victims that night. Jewell was treated like a hero in the next few days, but saw the table turn right away: local newspapers spread the rash information that he would be the prime suspect according to FBI sources, something that soon spread nationally.

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Jewell, in the eyes of the news-biased public, fitted exactly into the offender's imagined profile, matching a story too good to be a lie. Obese, peculiar, lonely and fascinated by the idea of ​​heroism, he was quickly convicted in the media court. Clint Eastwood's film cleverly builds, then, not an opposite perspective, but one that is much more complete of the individual and case that made his name known, usually without resorting to easy manipulation and great dramatic freedoms.

For this, it is crucial that their actions are fully detailed on screen, even if this aggravates a problem of inconsistency in the pace and assembly of the work during the first moments. The decision is commendable for establishing the main character's tonic, played by the versatile Paul Walter Hauser as a calm and gentle subject, who does not give in to even the most condescending provocations. As this is a story about the average American, small actions make up Jewell's identity, and they speak volumes when taken in a perspective as clear as Eastwood's.

For the most part, The Richard Jewell Affair strikes a rare balance in being sharp in its criticisms as it challenges modern cynicism with a clear and – mostly – pure worldview. Of course, the Eastwood feature touches on a reality specific to the average American, but presents compelling and straightforward arguments for upholding the universal importance of the narrative it brings to screen, putting the story in context with the timeliness of his country and questioning a corrupted ideal. of heroism.

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In the process, Billy Ray's screenplay exhibits a surprisingly keen and somewhat irreverent sense of humor, not only meditating on but also questioning the lifestyle of its protagonist – and so many other Yankees. The figure of the lawyer played by Sam Rockwell proves to be an effective solution for introducing that kind of self-criticism, as an intruder who unravels Jewell layer by layer, only to discover underneath all determinisms a man of pure conviction.

The clash between public and private is another point that Ray successfully evokes across a variety of scenarios, especially one involving a family discussion in which there is no privacy due to eavesdropping all over the house. At this point, Eastwood transposes the material with a sweeping, unaffected naturalness, and its central cast, which still includes an excellent Golden Globe nominee Kathy Bates as Jewell's mother, palpably conveys frictional wear. with the scandalous media circus around him.

On the other hand, to portray the journalist responsible for the leaking circus and the agents investigating Jewell, Eastwood and Ray adopt a diametrically opposite tone, weighing their hand in cartoonish portraits and downright unbelievable dialogues. In the role of reporter Kathy Scruggs, Olivia Wilde cannot find credibility or nuance, emerging as a living cartoon – with evil laughs. With that, the film gets in some parts a tacky air of tale of caution that helps nothing.

Still, The Richard Jewell Case pleases and surprises for the lucidity presented at various times, bringing some major considerations into its quiet but moving conclusion. Despite some hype, Clint Eastwood, Billy Ray, and promising Paul Walter Hauser make a beautiful and honest defense of an unjustly scorned man, recalling his deeds and significance in recent American history, bringing his acts of heroism back to the forefront.

(tagsToTranslate) the case richard jewell (t) clint eastwood (t) billy ray (t) paul walter hauser (t) kathy bates (t) sam rockwell (t) olivia wilde (t) reviews – movies


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