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Richard Jewell

by Hans A. Carpenter
Release Date: December 13
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Paul Walter Hauser, Kathy Bates, and
Sam Rockwell
Mister Marquee Says: Solid
Number: 4/5
Security Guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) saves hundreds of lives from a bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. When an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) leaks to the press that Jewell is the prime suspect, his life is destroyed as the once hero is fried by the press.
The story of Richard Jewell is a sad one. He was a man who saved many lives in what could have been a much worse terrorist attack. He was a hero and an innocent man who had his life and his family’s life destroyed by a media frenzy. Director Clint Eastwood paints the picture of a good man who did a great thing but just can’t help himself by looking as guilty as possible. Jewell fits the profile of the bomber, and at every turn his attempts to help law enforcement and clear his name just dig a deeper hole.
An all-star cast makes this movie, especially compelling supporting performances from Kathy Bates and Sam Rockwell. Paul Walter Hauser is excellent as Jewell, a character that is fundamentally a good person but is also portrayed as a bit of a naive dope who can’t stay out of his own way. Hauser’s Jewell and Rockwell’s Watson Bryant have a great buddy dynamic.
It’s ironic that in a movie about a guy having his life ruined by sensationalized media character assassination, the portrayal of Kathy Scruggs, the reporter who broke the Jewell story, is in itself a bit of a character assassination.
Writer Billy Ray does a good job of condensing a living news story into a very human, digestible package aided by Eastwood’s sharp direction and impeccable pacing. This is basically the same movie as Eastwood’s 2016 biopic Sully (the story of a hero falsely accused of wrongdoing and exonerated), but is a vast improvement over the former.
Editor’s note: Last week’s Mister Marquee listed the movie 1917 rated a 5/6 when it should have been a 5/5.

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