“Richard Jewell” Movie Review

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Anne Rutherford, Reporter

“Richard Jewell” is a 2019 American biographical film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who’s notable films include, “Unforgiven”, “Million Dollar Baby”, and “American Sniper”. His new movie is about the man who did a heroic service at a terrorist bombing, only to face false accusations of staging the bombing. 

 

On July 27, 1996, a bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Two people died and 100 were hurt in the attack. The film depicts the explosion and the aftermath of the bombing, but the heart of the story is focused on the title character Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), a security guard who discovered the bomb and helped evacuate the area. Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell is portrayed in the media as a “wannabe cop” who seeks public attention, therefore fits the profile of the lone bomber. While the FBI are conducting their investigation, the media’s increasing scrutiny over the story begins to upheave his life, and the life of his mother, Bobbi Jewell (Kathy Bates). Soon, with the help of G. Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), a lawyer that Jewell knew in his past job who always treated him with respect – Jewell begins to fight back. 

 

Director Clint Eastwood has had a long career of directing movies. Spanning 40 years, he has made some of the most memorable movies in cinema. However in recent years he has become inconsistent, with films such as “J. Edgar” and “The 15:17 to Paris”, who have garnered mixed to negative reviews. “Richard Jewell” is presented as a glimmer of hope that the celebrated director has not lost his touch; He is still capable of making good movies, and this is one of them. Though it is not a flawless movie, the good performances outweigh the flaws in certain character depictions. 

 

“Richard Jewell” is a reproach to institutional arrogance and shows the dangers of the media. “Trial by media” is a term used when describing the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt or innocence before, or after, a verdict in a court of law. Jewell is a sympathetic but respectful character that the audience can root for. It is gut-wrenching to witness the injustices done to him, and as the movie progresses, so does the desire for his vindication.