A review of the latest Clint Eastwood film “Richard Jewell”

I’m not sure how well this film will do outside the United States since the titular name will be unfamiliar to non-Americans. Jewell was a security guard at a concert celebrating the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when he spotted a suspicious backpack and managed to have most of the nearby spectators cleared from the area before three pipe bombs exploded causing one death and injurying over 100. At first he was hailed as a hero but then the FBI and a local newspaper decided that he was the prime suspect for the crime. 

Directed by the veteran Clint Eastwood, this a familiar story for him of a brave individual battling against an incompetent and uncaring bureaucracy, last told in his movie “Sully”. Certainly it is well-acted with a convincing portrayal of Jewell, the obese, obssessive, loner, by the little-known Paul Walter Hauser and a fine support cast of better-known actors including Kathy Bates as Jewell’s adoring mother, Jon Hamm as an FBI agent who pursues him, Olivia Wilde as the journalist who sets him up, and Sam Rockwell as the attorney who defends him.

Eastward is an acccomplished fim-maker and story-teller, but this is a by-the-numbers tale that is hardly his best work and understandably it has been criticised for its misleading representation of “Atlanta-Journal Constitution” reporter Kathy Scruggs.


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