Despite what you might have read about the new Clint Eastwood movie, Richard Jewell, the film is surprisingly good. Clint has taken some flak over his portrayal of the FBI agent who targeted Jewell as the bomber in the 1996 bombing at the Centennial Olympic Park. First off, if folks would stay to watch the credits (as my wife and I always do), they’d see the disclaimer that says that some facts were changed for dramatic purposes. After all, it’s a MOVIE, folks, NOT a documentary! Anyone who was around at the time of the crime can remember it was NOT Jewell who perpetrated it, but Eric Rudolph, who was ultimately captured in 2003, and convicted after he confessed in 2005.
As usual, Eastwood has delivered a masterpiece. Being an author whose work is mostly character-driven, I can appreciate the same when it appears on the big screen. Paul Walter Hauser, who bears a remarkable similarity to the real Richard Jewell, brings an amazing sense of pathos to his character. Kathy Bates shines (as always) as the mother of the wrongly accused Jewell, and will have you in tears. And then there’s Sam Rockwell as the attorney who takes up the defense of the Atlanta security guard. Probably one of the most underrated actors of our time, Sam delivers a terrific, understated performance that will leave you wishing you needed a lawyer, just so you could hire him.
The press and the FBI (surprise, surprise) didn’t like the treatment they received from director Eastwood. And to that I say “Tough noogies!” Anyway, without belaboring the point, I urge you to run, don’t walk, to your nearest theatre and see this “diamond in the rough” before it departs the big screen. You go, Clint. Keep making those terrific movies. We need you now more than ever.
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