Still working at the age of 89, legendary actor turned director Clint Eastwood’s latest piece is Richard Jewell, a true crime drama that revisits one of his recurring themes; the American hero. Set during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, the plot centres around the bomb attack on Centennial Park. Whilst working as a security guard at the event, do-gooder Richard (Paul Walter Hauser) spots the suspicious package and alerts the authorities, saving hundreds of lives from the explosion. After the tragedy, sleazy FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) fronts the investigation into finding the perpetrator and ruthless reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) will stop at nothing for a front-page exclusive. When the finger of blame starts to turn towards Richard, he calls upon his lawyer friend Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) to clear his name.
New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has garnered cult status and critical acclaim with his distinctive style of madcap comedy. The controversial premise of his latest feature Jojo Rabbit has caused quite the stir as the Jewish auteur tackles the topic of Nazism. Based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, the WWII story sees German boy Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis) enrol in a Hitler Youth training camp run by Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and his team of instructors. Meanwhile, Johannes’s mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is harbouring Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their house, presenting a moral dilemma for the young protagonist which he ponders with Adolf (Taika Waititi), his dictatorial imaginary friend.
The balancing act of black comedies can be difficult to judge but writer-director Martin McDonagh manages to tread this line impressively. Following a five-year gap, he returns with his third feature Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The crime drama centres around Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a mother grieving the death of her daughter who was raped and killed seven months prior. Taking matters into her own hands, she targets Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) with billboards asking why there have been no arrests. This sparks a hostile reaction from Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) and the rest of the community, and the fallout leads to significant consequences for the town.