Richard Jewell

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Richard Jewell
"The pace is well controlled and never too breathless to lose direction." | Photo: Warner Bros

Clint is back. Not in front of the camera this time. The guy's a breath away from 90 years old. Do you care? You should. He has directed a film, based on a real event - aren't they all these days? - about a fat middle-aged security guard with the charisma of a tree frog who discovers a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics and saves God knows how many lives.

The press build him up as a hero but he's not heroic material. He lives with his mother (Kathy Bates). He takes his job seriously and arrests kids for behaving badly when pissed. After the bomb scare, the FBI can't find anyone to blame and so decide that Jewell must be doubling their trouble and put the finger on him.

A film about miscarriage of justice? Another?

Before deciding not to waste what used to be called loose change at your local multiplex with a warm bucket of overpriced pop corn between your knees and a fizzy chilled cola in your fist think what you're doing. Why not stay at home and catch the next ep of that sexy spy thriller on telly instead?

The sales pitch runs on empty and yet what screenwriter Billly Ray and director Eastwood have done is remarkable. That's before I tell you about the performances, which are sensitive and strong, especially from Paul Walter Hauset as The Jewell himself and Bates as his opinionated, forceful mother and Sam Rockwell as the lawyer who comes out of nowhere and takes on the legal establishment almost as a sport.

The pace is well controlled and never too breathless to lose direction. Jon Hamm as the FBI nasty leaves good manners in the box marked Yesterday's Forgotten. Everyone touches on real and the tension, resurrected for this film, against expectation, plays hockey with the hairs on the back of your hands.

Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2020
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Story of a security guard wrongly accused of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Billy Ray, Marie Brenner, Kent Alexander, Kevin Salwen

Starring: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Stanley, Ryan Boz, Charles Green, Olivia Wilde, Mike Pniewski, Jon Hamm, Ian Gomez, Nina Arianda, Kathy Bates, Ronnie Allen, David Lengel, Beth Keener, Grant Roberts

Year: 2019

Runtime: 131 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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