Richard Jewell, a 2019 biographical crime drama, directed by Clint Eastwood throws light upon certain issues that need to be addressed in our contemporary times. The cobweb that we call our “System”, adheres to only the rich and powerful. Its a place where one’s conscience is bartered cheaply, where the truth is moulded according to one’s convenience, where people having influence decide the rules of the game. In such a place a man could only expect to gain and progress by doing anything but being virtuous.
The film talks about a security guard played by Paul Walter Houser who discovers an unclaimed bag at Centennial Park during the 1996 summer Olympics taking place in Atlanta. He informs the authorities and helps in evacuating the area. The bag explodes in the process, leaving a couple of people dead and many severely injured. FBI took probe of the matter and latter based on superfluous evidence named Robert Jewell as the prime suspect. As he apparently had the “lone bomber” profile according to the decorated agency.
The film showcases how media houses can put into force a sort of systematic brainwashing. How it is capable of changing perceptions.
Not naming any organization but we as Indians know how media can exercise control and put an indelible impression on the independent thinking of any individual.
We have seen how in recent times, only the narrative which suits the current regime is put to light, whereas a blind patch is put on the alternative argument. When instead of stating facts, conclusions are drawn presumptuously, then there is no scope left for an individual to apply his rationale. The media was never supposed to be a party to the debate. Its role was that of a mediator. Its role was to analyze the facts not mould it to win the goodwill of any individual or organization.
Richard Jewell went from being a hero to a villain in less than 3 days. But he was lucky to have a friend in a lawyer who was stubborn as a mule(played by Sam Rockwell). He knew the system much more than Robert did. He knew that once you get entangled in the brutal labyrinth then there is no coming out.
A scene stands out for me when finally the FBI comes to Robert Jewell and gives him a letter stating that henceforth he wouldn’t be considered a target of the federal criminal investigation, as no solid evidence was procured.
Richard Jewell wept. Wept like he just had a near-death experience. And all because a ravenous media house wanted to break the story before anyone else does it. And obviously doing due diligence did not figure in their list (because India wants to know, doesn’t matter what they are knowing is fabricated, all that matters is sensation)
The governing regime is like a raging bull in a narrow alley, capable of injuring anyone, if not kept Under check. Spatters of which are already visible. Its time we put a bridle on the raging bull.
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