Over the last few years, Clint Eastwood has turned his directorial attention to telling true stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. “American Sniper” and “Sully” are solid, well-made examples. “The 15:17 to Paris,” not so much.
Now Eastwood has returned with another true story with the focus being on “Richard Jewell.”
Paul Walter Hauser stars as the titular real-life individual: a security guard at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Jewell is a man who believes in having respect for law and authority and at the beginning of the film, he’s portrayed as a guy who takes no lip from nobody while maintaining a humble demeanor.
He gets hired as a security guard for the Olympics and discovers the bomb that went off saving lives. He’s credited as a hero until the media gets a hold of the incident and they unjustly villify him as the prime suspect.
Jewell’s life is made a living hell not only by the media, but by the FBI who soon interrogate him. Jon Hamm costars as the chief agent leading the interrogation and Olivia Wilde is the journalist who breaks the story to the FBI.
Sam Rockwell stars as Jewell’s attorney and he advises Jewell not to say or do anything as it might make him look guilty. For instance, when the FBI come to raid his apartment for suspicious belongings, Jewell can’t help but be cooperative in his assistance.
This doesn’t make Rockwell’s character too happy.
Perhaps the heart and emotional anchor in the story os Kathy Bates as Jewell’s fiercely loyal and devoted mother. Her life is equally a living hell with all the reporters constantly surrounding their apartment. She’s determined to prove her son’s innocence.
The performances from the supporting cast are all exceptional and we get black and white portrayals of each of the characters. There’s no in between: Each person strongly believes that Jewell is either guilty or innoncent.
As for Paul Walter Hauser, he provides a remarkable combination of depicting this man as having uncompromising conviction and an honest soul. He’s a dark horse come Oscar time. Kathy Bates is also truly convincing and she also deserves Oscar consideration for her work.
The movie is also timely in terms of how the media takes an event like this and the sole person at the center of it and make them look good or evil in the mind of the country.
“Richard Jewell” is deeply absorbing, occasionally thrilling, and wonderfully acted and directed by Eastwood. This is a movie that does service to its cenrtal hero and doesn’t pull punches in terms of how he was treated and how he ultimately survived.
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images.
Justin Hall is a syndicated movie critic in South Georgia.
Hall’s Top 10 of the 2010s: Best movies of the decade
The 2010s have come and gone in the blink of an eye. It's hard to believe that another decade of film is once again behind us.
During the last 10 years, I saw a total of 417 movies. Many of them were truly memorable and spectacular in so many ways.
Others, not so much. (I'm looking at you, “Dirty Grandpa”!)
My 10 best of the decade consists of movies that were bold, daring, and some stirred my sense of imagination and originality. They were filled with incredible performances, impressive special effects, and a vision of cinema that were truly unique.
These films took us from the farthest regions of outer space to the subconscious of the human mind. Others made us sing and dance while others were a thrilling journey of survival and justice.
Without further ado, here were my picks for the 10 best movies of the 2010s!
3. “The Revenant”
5. “Django Unchained”
6. “Mad Max Fury Road”
7. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
8. “The Beaver”
10. “La La Land”
• “The Wolf of Wall Street”
• “Avengers: Endgame”
• “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”
• “A Quiet Place”
And there you have it — my picks for the 10 best of the 2010s. Were any of these 10 extraordinary films any of your favorites over the last decade? Maybe now would be a good time to revisit these contemporary classics.
Until next time, this is Justin Hall saying I'll see you at the movies!