Richard Jewell, rated R
This film is based on the true story of the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. The film is directed by 89-year-old four-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven). The screenplay was written by Oscar nominee Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), and is based on a magazine article by Marie Brenner (The Insider, A Private War) and the book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen.
The film is about Richard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, BlacKkKlansman, Late Night), the security guard working the Olympics that at first was hailed as a hero for finding the bomb in Centennial Park, and preventing an even worse tragedy. The film focuses on the events after the bombing. But just a few days after the bombing, the FBI and the Atlanta Journal Constitution turn on Jewell and makes him the prime suspect in the bombing, indicating that he fits the profile of a bomber.It’s then that Jewell turns to his friend and attorney Watson Bryant, played by Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). The two had met about ten years earlier when both worked in the same organization. Bryant has since left that organization to form his own law firm with assistant Nadya Light, played by Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris, Stan & Ollie).
Olivia Wilde (director of Booksmart), portrays journalist Kathy Scruggs of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a reporter who is willing to exchange sex for information. It’s her article that turns the media against Jewell. Two-time Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm (Mad Men), plays Tom Shaw, the FBI agent leading the investigation into the bombing. He’s willing to take advantage of Jewell’s good nature and willingness to help. Jewell lives with his mother Bobi, who is played by Oscar winner Kathy Bates (Misery).
The film shows the power of the media in rushing to judgment, a lesson so applicable to today’s Twitter and 24-hour news network world. Themes in the film include truth, injustice, the power of the media, and a rush to judgment. Content concerns include a significant amount of adult language.
The film features a strong cast and excellent acting performances, particularly from Hauser and Bates, who has received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a supporting role.
Richard Jewell is a well-acted and directed film that follows the investigation after the 1996 bombing in Centennial Park in Atlanta, during the Olympics. Unfortunately, the film is marred by a significant amount of adult language, and felt overly long at two hours and nine minutes.