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“Richard Jewell” A Rush To Judgement

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

In my top ten for 2019 the movie Richard Jewell reveals the hardship of a man who was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. With strong performances by Paul Walker Hauser, Sam Rockwell and Kathy Bates the film brings out the heartrending injustice and the questionable tactics for a rush to judgement. Direction by Clint Eastwood is as impeccable as ever making the movie a must see.

A very eager man who wants to get ahead in life, Richard Jewell (Paul Walker Hauser) takes a job in a law firm as a supply room clerk where he meets Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell). His goal in life is to work for the police force and his attempts in Atlanta have not been good even as being a security guard at a local college. His biggest drawback is meddling and sometime not knowing when to back off. Based on a True Story.

Richard (Paul Walter Hauser) holds back the crowd at Centennial Park due to a suspected bomb in Richard Jewell. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

 

Living with his mother Bobbi Jewell (Kathy Bates), he’s been able to stretch his search for the perfect job with her help and love. Finally getting a security job, he’s assigned to the Olympic events taking place in Atlanta’s Centennial Park working crowd control. During the concert he spots a suspicious backpack and notifies security. Running around like Chicken Little, he does get attention, but it may not be soon enough to save everyone.

As a method of FBI tactics, Richard gets called in by the FBI for an informal interrogation by FBI Agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) who was at Centennial Park just as the explosion occurred. Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), reporter for the Atlanta Journal, entices Shaw with sexual advances get information on the case. She then embellishes it and publishes an unverified story that Jewell is a suspect in the bombing. Enter lawyer Watson Bryant who comes to the aid of Jewell.

Bobbi Jewell (Kathy Bates) speaks in public in defense of her son in Richard Jewell. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Director Clint Eastwood keeps the film interesting by laying out Jewell’s past life during the few years prior to the Olympic incident so we can later empathize with his central character. It’s a smart move especially if you are not familiar as to what took place following the explosion at the park. Here you’ll be treated to one of the biggest mistakes that have tainted one of our government’s most honorable criminal bureaus and an example of how the press spins information they get. He guides his actors so they reveal every step of the story based on actual facts and brings the film to a convincing ending.

The acting by the ensemble cast is stellar giving performances that are very noteworthy. Kathy Bates is perfect as Bobbie Jewell as she pampers her son Richard, fights for him and later gives a heartfelt speech. Emotional and genuine, her Bobbie Jewell will be remembered well after the film ends. It’s one of those characters that if delivered right, can make a movie work and she succeeds. It’s no wonder she’s already received recognition for her nomination for a Golden Globe for Richard Jewell.

Paul Walker Hauser takes direction from Clint Eastwood on the set of Richard Jewell. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

 

As the man in the role of the film’s title Richard Jewell, Paul Walker Hauser’s performance is touching and resonate. Having to develop the pivotal character into a lovable guy who has trouble reaching his dream job is not an easy task, but Hauser nails it. Bothersome at times, but knowledgeable just the same, Richard gets in the hair of his lawyer and the FBI. He’s a do-gooder of the highest order, even though not as tactful as one can be. I liked his character and I can see Hauser getting more lead work in future films.

Richard Jewell has been rated R by the MPAA for language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images. Be sure to stay for the final credits for information on the lives of the real people involved.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An excellent film with all the right stuff. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, John Hamm, Kathy Bates, Nina Arianda,
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R for language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images
Running Time: 2 hrs. 9 min.
Opening Date: December 13, 2019
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Released in: Theaters

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