Clint Eastwood worked five years putting the film together, and there’s not another actor out there who’d make a better lead than Paul Walter Hauser. Their similarity is uncanny, but it’s much more than that: Jewell is not a celebrity along the lines of, say, Ray Charles or Mr. Rogers. So unlike most celebrity biopics, this isn’t a matter of makeup and mimicry, where an actor is afforded the luxury of poring over hours of footage before hitting their mark. And whether or not a newspaper reporter propositioned an FBI agent to get a scoop is second only to the fact that were it not for their rush to judgement, Jewell would have lived out the remainder of his life in a manner befitting a hero. Alas, the film tanked at the box office. Did people stay home fearing a lecture on fake news from a crabby old Republican prone to speaking to unoccupied chairs? Give the man some credit. With 38 movies to his name, director Eastwood’s a much sharper smuggler than that. Set aside a couple of hours this holiday season to spend with a pair of real-life American heroes. (2019) — Scott Marks
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