On July 27, 1996, a security guard working the Summer Olympics in Atlanta discovered a pipe bomb inside a U.S. military ALICE Pack. The man, Richard Jewell, took immediate action, and as a result he was able to clear most of the spectators out of Centennial Olympic Park, saving countless lives.
He was celebrated as a hero — but within days, the FBI made him their number one suspect. The media ran with the story, labeling Jewell a police wannabe seeking notoriety. For 88 days, he was unjustly investigated and vilified as a terrorist. Jewell was innocent, and his life was ruined.
Director Clint Eastwood brings this true American tragedy to the big screen with RICHARD JEWELL, starring Paul Walter Hauser (I, TONYA) in the titular role. The screenplay, written by Billy Ray (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS), is based on a Vanity Fair article, "American Nightmare: The Balled of Richard Jewell."
In the article, Marie Brenner wrote, "Richard Jewell had a reverence for authority that blinded him to the paradox of his situation." He idealized law enforcement, having worked as a police officer prior. (He resigned after he was reprimanded for a number of controversial arrests.) And he was an easy target: a 30-something mama's boy, as he was painted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fortunately for Jewell, he had a friend in a fiery anti-establishment lawyer, Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), who stepped in to defend him — and protect him from the very people he looked up to.
RICHARD JEWELL is really a cautionary tale of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth, and it's told by an all-star cast. Paul Walter Hauser gets the opportunity to showcase his skills in his first dramatic lead role, while the always-excellent Sam Rockwell is at the top of his form once again. Additionally, Kathy Bates as Richard's mom, Jon Hamm as F.B.I. agent Tom Shaw, and Olivia Wilde as reporter Kathy Scruggs all deliver strong performances.
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