Richard Jewell, a thirtysomething living with his single mom in the mid 90s, wanted nothing more than to serve in law enforcement in some way, shape or capacity. Unfortunately, Jewell couldn’t get a grip on his worst tendencies and wound up working as a security guard during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where he discovered a bomb one fateful night during his shift. His life was forever altered, first in a positive manner and then later in a not so positive manner, when the FBI put him at the top of their list of suspects. The new film, Richard Jewell, depicts these events and creates a reasonably rousing film experience in the process.

Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell is unquestionably a film filtered through the world views and sensibilities of the man behind the camera guiding the proceedings. That would be veteran filmmaker Clint Eastwood. I mention this since the film in question, based on true events, has been taken to task in the press for playing loosely with the facts. I suppose Eastwood can’t bear all of the blame as some of it must be placed at the foot of scripter, Billy Ray, who certainly muddies the water in his dramatic rendering of certain crucial story points. This is all worth noting since some segments of the population who haven’t been warned might go into the film thinking it’s an accurate depiction of the Richard Jewell saga. It isn’t. Even so, the film is skillfully made and features some great performances, in particular those of its lead, Paul Walter Hauser, along with Kathy Bates and Sam Rockwell in ample supporting roles. It may not be totally accurate but it’s a pretty solid film experience as these things go.

Richard Jewell is playing locally.

Questions or comments?