Based on true events, Clint Eastwood’s latest film focuses on the exploits of Richard Jewell, a security guard. Hoping to become a law enforcement agent, Jewell bides his time, taking a position at the 1996 Olympic Games. Eventually, Jewell notices a package placed underneath a bench. This revelation alerts other law enforcement agents, and eventually, a terrorist scheme is revealed. Unsurprisingly, Jewell is heralded as a hero. But in classic existential fashion, Jewell’s life is turned upside down. As the bombing investigation moves forward, the FBI and media sources demonize Jewell, making him out to be the Atlanta bomber.
“Richard Jewell” is one of my favorite films of 2019. Of course, it won’t revolutionize the cinematic landscape. However, its expert simplicity and experienced craftsmanship are sights to behold. Eastwood, a legendary actor and director with a ton of credits to his name, has crafted another cinematic success. And unlike many of his previous motion pictures, Eastwood shies away from drab visuals, injecting the film with welcoming forms of photography.
Even with its straightforward premise, “Richard Jewell” is ramped up by exceptional drama. In all honesty, the performances are out of this world. As Jewell, Paul Walter Hauser becomes a walking representation of gullibility. His bumbling antics create the perfect hero, and very quickly, we feel the societal heat that surrounds our protagonists. Sam Rockwell successfully portrays a defense attorney, summoning the interpersonal quickness and brass attitude that comes with such a job.
From an inclusive point of view, “Richard Jewell” isn’t a gem. Most notably, its portrayal of Kathy Scruggs has received a ton of scrutiny. Many people claim that the film’s rendition of Scruggs is false and unethical. Olivia Wilde expertly portrays a heartless being, but as a whole, her character doesn’t feel human. On the contrary, the character feels like a cartoon being. Thankfully, Kathy Bates’ committed performance gives the film some sense of female respectability.
In closing, I highly recommend “Richard Jewell.” Eastwood’s film is a stunning portrait of tarnished peace, pointing to governmental and media inefficiency. I believe that it will go down as one of Eastwood’s finest films. And yes, I know that’s a bold statement.
Incluvie score: 2
Movie score: 5
Originally published by Dillon McCarty for Incluvie on February 8, 2020