Dir: Clint Eastwood
Starring Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm
Eastwood’s latest is a true-life tale that the director relays in his usual economical manner. But which is blessed by a collection of superb performances that can’t help but hugely impress. None more so that the little-known Hauser who is hugely impressive as the Atlanta Olympics security guard, who called into a potential bomb scare (which turned out to be the real deal) only to find himself accused of planting the bomb himself in some desperate attempt to further his proposed career in law enforcement.
It’s a powerful performance that is rarely ambiguous (Eastwood has clearly worked on where he and his film stand on the events of said story) but one which is deeply felt and extremely moving, made all the more powerful by the overweight’s wannabe’s uncertainty in the world around him.
As his mother Kathy Bates more than matches him, as does Sam Rockwell as his lawyer, at first uncertain of this “character” but then impassioned in his need to defend him.
As with many of Eastwood’s later films, it deals with societal essentials and a deep sense of morality. But it never gets bogged down in moralising. It holds a light up to a story the filmmaker – now in his late eighties, lest we forget wants to tell. And tell in the simplest and most effective manner he can muster – and by that, we mean by drawing out a series of note perfect performances by a remarkable cast. None more so than Hauser who is very clearly award-worthy.
Yes, there’s been some controversy over Olivia Wilde’s character. But the film very much rises above that nonsense.