RICHARD JEWELL – A Review by Cynthia Flores
We all think we know the story of Richard Jewell. That on July 27, 1996, in the middle of the Atlanta Games, security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) discovered a suspicious backpack, hidden under a bench. It’s soon found to contain an incendiary device. With little time to spare, he helped evacuate the area, saving many lives, and minimizing potential injuries. He was hailed a hero. But just three days later, the humble savior’s life unravels when he and the world learn he’s the FBI’s prime suspect in the bombing.
It sounds too fantastic to be true. The facts that might read as the makings of a suspense thriller or bad joke were, in fact, the life-shattering reality for the real Richard Jewell. Ironically, thanks to his selfless act, for 88 days Jewell and his mother Bobi (Kathy Bates) lived with an invasive FBI investigation lead by Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) public scrutiny spurred by unrelenting press coverage started by Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), and the uncertainty that his name would ever be cleared or his life ever be the same. His only ally was his friend and lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell).
Director Clint Eastwood was asked why he chose to bring this story to the big screen. “To restore Richard’s honor. Because it’s the everyday guy—who wants to be a police officer, of all things, to devote himself to the betterment of mankind—who does this heroic thing and then pays a heavy price for it. He gets thrown to the wolves.” Eastwood said, “I hope audiences learn that, as a society, we can do better. If that’s a lesson Richard can give us, I think that’s great. That’s a hero.”
Lately, when Oscar-winner Eastwood makes a new film, it’s either great or really falls flat. This is the first one to just be a good solid film. The acting, however, is off-the-hook fantastic. Paul Walter Hauser in the lead will break your heart and will probably garner some attention come awards season.
Richard Jewell is worth seeing on the big screen. I give this film a B+ rating and know you will enjoy this cautionary tale of the little guy that just did his job.
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Marie Brenner, Billy Ray
Selig Rating B+
Running Time: 2h 9min
Limited Release: December 13th
Starring: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Kathy Bates, Ian Gomez
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.