Richard Jewell Review: Shockingly True.

4 stars
On July 27, 1996, a pipe bomb resulted in two deaths and injured over a hundred people in the Centennial Olympic Park.
An investigation was quickly launched but the man who discovered the bomb, Richard Jewell was hailed as a hero for his actions… until he wasn’t.
When news that Jewell was the FBI’s number one suspect leaked to the media, they jumped on it and, soon enough, Richard Jewell was number one on everyone’s suspect list.
Just one problem: Jewell really was a hero.
He had nothing to do with the bombing and his actions probably saved the lives of hundreds of people.
Yet, his life was destroyed by flawed, one-track mind FBI investigating and media reporting that both threw integrity out the window.
This is the true story that Clint Eastwood’s 2019 film Richard Jewell tells, and it is incredibly compelling.
I had heard of Jewell’s story before but I only knew the basics.
After watching the film, I looked up how much of the story was true and most of it is.
The finer details are shocking, with the efforts the FBI and media took to prove Jewell’s guilt being, quite frankly, disgusting.
This disgust that I felt was helped by the extreme sympathy I felt for Jewell, who is played brilliantly by Paul Walter Hauser.

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Hauser knocks it out of the park as Richard Jewell.

I recently watched interviews with Jewell and it is a spot on portrayal that is right up there with 2019’s best performances.
He is not the only one because Kathy Bates, as Jewell’s mother, Bobi, and Sam Rockwell, as Jewell’s lawyer, Watson Bryant, are both fantastic.
The structure of the film is also great, with it admittedly starting out a bit slow, but picking up in momentum once the bombing occurs.
All of this combines to create a shocking and great film, but one with a very big problem that holds it back from being one of 2019’s best.
This is the portrayal of certain characters, specifically Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) who plays the journalist who breaks the story about Jewell being a suspect.
She is portrayed in the most negative light possible, with her appearing to not care about the bombing deaths, only wanting a good story out of it, and trading sex for information.
While it is true that Scruggs was part of the media that slandered and demonized Jewell, her initial portrayal as irredeemably cruel feels a lot like the media’s initial portrayal of Jewell and thus hypocritical.
Thankfully, the film does go about showing she later regrets her actions, but the film’s message of not painting someone out to be a monster is slightly tainted by it doing this very thing.

repoter
Wilde is portrayed as villainous for most of the film, making it seem like the film is demonizing her the same way that Richard Jewell was demonized. 

Despite this, Richard Jewell is still Clint Eastwood’s best film in a long while.
With fantastic performances and a gripping true story, it raises good questions about the morality of certain parts of the media and authorities.

Jojo Rabbit Review: Hilarious, Heartwarming, and Dark.

5 stars
Taika Waititi playing Hitler… well, I think it’s safe to say that I have seen everything now.
In all seriousness, when Jojo Rabbit was first announced there was a bit of controversy over the satirical plot being about a young boy in World War Two Germany whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.
Thankfully, such controversy was unwarranted as Waititi has crafted a film that manages to be hilarious, heartwarming and dark, resulting in a film that is probably my favourites of his.
The story follows the young Jojo (played by Roman Griffin Davis in his first role) a member of the Hitler Youth who is so misguidedly infatuated with the country’s genocidal leader that he imagines him as his imaginary friend.
After learning that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), is hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) from the Nazis, Jojo desperately tries to figure out a way to get rid of her without getting his mother into trouble.

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It’s interesting how Elsa is framed to suit Jojo’s negative perception of her only for this to slowly evolve over the film as he comes to realise she is just as human as he is. 

What follows is many endearing scenes between the three characters as Jojo comes to learn that Elsa is far from the monster Nazi propaganda would have him believe.
All three actors give great performances, delivering both emotional weight and humor perfectly.
The same can be said for the other characters like the disillusioned Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Jojo’s friend Yorki (Archie Yates) who is just too pure for this world.
I especially loved Waititi’s portrayal of the imaginary friend Hitler, taking him from the childish and friendly character of Jojo’s imagination to the cruel and detestable dictator we know from history.

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The visual of Hitler eating a unicorn is both darkly hilarious and great symbolism for Jojo slowly coming to realise the dictator’s true nature.

This slow decrease in Jojo’s perception of Hitler, results from many surprisingly tragic moments in the film, including one moment that left me gaping for at least a full minute.
I probably would have cried if I had not been so shocked by it.
Ultimately, this is what proves JoJo Rabbit to be one of Waititi’s best films.
It balances its often dark tone with humor brilliantly, often combining to create dark humor, resulting in a satire that comments on the impact of war, hate, and by the end, love.
I highly recommend Jojo Rabbit.