RICHARD JEWELL

RICHARD JEWELL movie poster
Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), the security guard who reported finding the explosive device at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics bombing, became an instant hero when his actions saved many lives. Desperate to find the culprit, the FBI's rushed investigation under agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) made Jewell their number one suspect. With his life now in shambles, thanks in part to pushy reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), the hounded wannabe lawman sought help from his friend and lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell). It was an uphill battle for the attorney with no public support and only his client's mother Bobi (Kathy Bates) on their side.

Iconic director Clint Eastwood makes this straightforward telling of a terrible real-life injustice an engaging cinematic experience. Working from the screenplay by Billy Ray, based on a Vanity Fair magazine article by Marie Brenner, the filmmaker keeps things
simple with very few embellishments. Instead, he relies on the power of his excellent cast to carry the story. Leading the way is an emotional performance by Paul Walter Hauser, who was previously memorable as one of the "genius" criminals in "I, Tonya". Here Hauser convincingly portrays a man determined to become a lawman even while under extreme pressure as a suspect - which he can't comprehend. The supporting players add some depth to the plot. Kathy Bates is terrific as the intimidated mother, especially when she gives a heartbreaking press conference to convince President Bill Clinton to pardon her son. Sam Rockwell doesn't disappoint as the committed lawyer. Neither do Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde as the FBI agent who was certain of Jewell's guilt and the assertive reporter willing to go to any length for career advancement. The real bombing suspect, Eric Rudolph, was arrested in 2003 and Richard Jewell died in 2007. While all of the facts may not be clear, this eye-opening film does a fine job of proving the security guard's innocence. "Richard Jewell" is an Eastwood gem. (4/5 CAMS)

Rated R (for language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images)
Running Time: 131 minutes


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