Richard Jewell Image

Richard Jewell

By Alex Saveliev | November 21, 2019

Richard Jewell marks Clint Eastwood’s 41st directorial feature. At the ripe young age of 89, the man shows no signs of fatigue; in fact, his films are filled with more verve and passion – not to mention skill and sophistication –  than those of most filmmakers half his age. This new Jewell in Eastwood’s sparkling filmography happens to be his most emotionally resonant, heartfelt, and purely entertaining project in years.

While Eastwood’s films tend to indict authority and its misuse of power, the man is also deeply patriotic, with a palpable affection for the HHAU (Humble Heroic American Underdog). Just see any of his recent films, from Flags of Our Fathers to The Mule. In the case of Richard Jewell, the underdog is the titular security guard, who helped prevent a tragedy of epic proportions by discovering a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics and promptly clearing the area.

“…helped prevent a tragedy of epic proportions by discovering a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics and promptly clearing the area.”

The bomb still detonated (known as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing), killing two people and injuring over 100 others – yet the damage would have been significantly worse if it were not for Richard’s act of heroism. The FBI, along with the media, pounced on Richard as the primary suspect. He was interrogated and antagonized for months, before being cleared of suspicion. The real bomber, Eric Rudolph, was arrested years later.

Eastwood methodically, and in a supremely muscular and suspenseful fashion, tells Richard’s story, letting the events unravel, allowing the shades of his characters to deepen, trusting his audience to come along for the ride.  It’s entrancing, what one could call “old-school” filmmaking, without showiness or embellishments or frantic, seizure-inducing camerawork. That’s not to say the film’s sole purpose is to hark back to the “good ol’ films of yore” – its technique is the reason why we’re hooked, from the first minute till the last, undistracted by hollow eye-candy.

Richard Jewell (2019)

Directed: Clint Eastwood

Written: Billy Ray

Starring: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde., etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Richard Jewell Image

"…Eastwood methodically, and in a supremely muscular and suspenseful fashion, tells Richard’s story"

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  1. Joe says:

    I’ll be seeing this tonight at a screening, but I’m afraid my expectations are already tempered. I enjoy Eastwood’s movies and even, despite my own political leanings not aligning with his, appreciate that he makes films that tend to stand against the mass of liberally-skewed Hollywood films. This one, however, seems less about the story at hand and more in response to the current political climate of the country. Every review I’ve read paints the characters involved as two dimensional: Richard is the naive, ambitious victim wrongfully accused of the crime, even though he fits the profile as a loner with a stockpile of firearms and fantasies of being a heroi police officer. Conversely, the FBI agent and news reporter here fit the stereotype that Trump has set a precedent for: conniving, lying, cheating, and just generally being antagonists towards innocent people.

    I don’t mind all these characters being painted in this light if they’re equally rounded out as actual human beings with both strengths and flaws, but this seems to be more of a case of representative caricatures that fit our presidents rhetoric than the actual people in this story: FBI and media bad; average, firearm stocking, police wannabes good.

    Eastwood is better than that and it’s disappointing he’s settled for such obtuse characterizations. Despite all this being said, I’ll reserve full opinion for after I’ve seen the film.

  2. MikePhillips says:

    I’m going to see this one for four reasons:
    1. Eastwood, a true patriot
    2. Eastwood movies are never a disapointment
    3. Filmed in Georgia, not Hollywood
    4. Exposes a corrupt mainstream media and some of their agenda
    I wish Jewell were with us today so he could see there are Americans out here who will remember his story and who appreciate his service to others. God bless that man.

    • M Simpson says:

      Before heralding this as a great exposure of corrupt media, why don’t we wait to see if the film correctly identifies the motivation behind the actual bomber/bombings—Eric Rudolph set four bombs nationwide because of his anti-abortion and anti-gay beliefs.

      Will be interesting if Mr Eastwood calls out the right wing conservative who caused Richard Jewell all his woes…..

    • JJ B says:

      I find it sad in a way to read you’ll see a movie because it’s filmed “in Georgia not Hollywood.” I have nothing against Georgia or state film boards -quite the opposite; each state should bring in as much business as possible for their people- but I wish people knew the real working professionals of Los Angeles. LA’’s a “company town” as much as Detroit or Hershey, PA, are or were. Builders, painters, artists, designers, tech people who invent extraordinary new techniques, pushing the boundaries for other disciplines. They raise families and support their communities and help their neighbors like hardworking people everywhere. The word “Hollywood” is a term for the world’s best in storytelling on film or tv.

      • Alan Ng says:

        Considering the events of the film take place in Georgia, it would make sense it should be filmed “in Georgia not Hollywood.”

        • Bradley Gibson says:

          Also… as a long-time Atlanta resident, the fact is that we are Hollywood South now… or as some like to say here “Y’allywood.” Not my favorite appellation, but it gets the point across. Pinewood studio has a sprawling campus near Atlanta. Tyler Perry just opened his studio lot here, and we have Blackhall studios. Films are made here every day. All of the Marvel movies are shot here. We are the movie business as well!

    • Agreed! You’ll love the film for those four reasons – and many more.

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