Review: Richard Jewell

I feel sorry for Richard Jewell, but the outrage that should naturally follow struggles to materialise.
I think I get the premise – Jewell is a harmless tryhard, wrongly persecuted simply for being 'a bit odd'. Is he though? Another reading could be that Richard Jewell was a man desperate for authority – unhealthily obsessed with becoming a cop. Did he want to be a cop so he could 'protect and serve' or did he simply want to be able to tell people what to do. With the backing of a gun.
Of course all of that is largely irrelevant to the fact that he was falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit and robbed of richly deserved praise for helping avert what could've been a much greater tragedy.
Richard Jewell, Clint Eastwood's latest film, really doesn't do much for its title character. Richard is pathetic. So desperate to be accepted by law enforcement he'll almost allow them to persecute him. Where's his outrage? OK, this is actually addressed in the film, but then, where is anyone else's outrage. No one ever really seems to actually fight back, not even Jewell's lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), who it's heavily hinted at will be the one person willing to. But he doesn't, not really. No one does.
Perhaps this is exactly how it was though. Perhaps the film is very historically accurate, and they all really did just sit around the Jewell house kind of letting this all just happen around them.
Two other things that left me confused – the kind of side-story of reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde). Given the mass media scrum portrayed hounding the Jewells, why is she singled out, and to what end. She seems exceptionally unlikable. She is every bad stereotype of the nasty tabloid reporter. We do eventually see her wiping away tears listening to Richard Jewell's mother Bobi (Kathy Bates) public plea, but then don't see her again. If this was meant to be some sort of turning point for her, we never see it. She's gone after this. The storyline seems tacked on.
Given that Jewell eventually sued a number of different news agencies over their reporting of the events and portrayal of him, I think this film might have missed a much better story. I'd have loved to see Jewell actually fighting back against these injustices, rather that what we actually got – a lot of Jewell and his mother sitting around their house, while this was all done to them.
And why on earth is FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) such a dick? Actually, at what point does he become a dick? When we're introduced to him he seems grand. Even during his investigation he seems like he's 'just doing his job'. Yes, we know he's wrong, but at the time, he doesn't. Why then, in the light of zero evidence against Jewell, does he suddenly go all 'evidence schmevidence, I'll always think he's guilty'. Now again, I have to assume that this is exactly how it all happened, but he's seemingly sudden turn from 'doing his job' to 'fuck it, your guilty anyway' left me confused.
The best thing about the whole endeavour is Paul Walter Hauser, who's performance as Richard is fantastic.
Having literally just read Richard Jewell's Wikipedia page, there is much that could've made Eastwood's film much more engaging. That's a shame.

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