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Wick's Review

Created Dec 19, 2019 07:40AM PST • Edited Dec 31, 2019 05:37PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    The FBI’s reputation takes a big blow in Richard Jewell, making Clint Eastwood’s movie about 1996 timely in 2019. Last week’s Justice Department IG report crushed any belief that the upper echelon of the FBI is the least bit trustworthy. That came years after the FBI didn’t pay attention when notified TWICE about the Florida high school mass murderer – when they still would have had ample time to stop him. But the litany of contemporary incompetence began with Richard Jewell and the ’96 Atlanta Olympic bombing.

    Jewell’s name has now faded from public consciousness, after exploding into national ubiquity some 23 years ago during the early days of 24-hour news. The man was a hero for three days, celebrated by Katie Couric on the Today Show. Then he was thrown under the bus by a voracious newspaper when a reporter scored a leak from the FBI. The Government-Media Complex was born. It all makes a helluva movie now.

    Some speculative sex gets thrown in for good measure, a showbiz reality about which the Atlanta Journal Constitution fakenewspaper is deeply aggrieved, as if a major movie would ever turn down sex. Ironically, the AJC is aggrieved by big media speculating about the personal life of a civilian, when the movie is about the AJC doing just that to Richard Jewell in 1996. How should revenge be served? This certainly qualifies.

    Bottom Line —————————————————————

    Richard Jewell further burnishes Clint Eastwood’s reputation as our most serious director, not only in his choice of stories but in the spare style he uses to tell the story. As to his visual style, Richard Jewell starts in monochrome and never allows too much color onscreen, making it visually serious in the Eastwood way. Eastwood is an American treasure and Jewell an American hero. As to the latter, he’s ready for his closeup.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Paul Walter Hauser was born to play Richard Jewell, the unfortunate endomorph who always tried to do the right thing and finally succeeded on the biggest stage possible. And then he got pilloried for it. Hauser doesn’t overplay the pathos of the part, which turns out to be just right.

    Kathy Bates joins him in Oscar territory as mama Bobi Jewell. Bates is an American treasure and among the very best character actresses of all time. Her Bobi Jewell is sweet, stalwart and strong, just as we’re sure the real Bobi Jewell was.

    • Sam Rockwell is typically entertaining with his characteristic bombastic style as the lawyer who met his moment defending Richard Jewell. Nina Arianda jumps offscreen as his loyal assistant.
    • Jon Hamm is more stilted than strong as an FBI Agent who screws the pooch.
    • Olivia Wilde is supersexy as a hard charging, hard drinking and hard living newspaper reporter.
    • Ian Gomez underwhelms as the second banana FBI Agent.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0

    Paul Walter Hauser as Richard Jewell

  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0

    Kathy Bates as Bobi Jewell

  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    The film’s several LOLs cut through the tension and reveal how perceptions have changed since 1996. Asked if he owns any firearms, Jewell replies “You know we’re in Georgia, right?” Asked if he belongs to any fringe organizations “like the NRA”, he asks “Is the NRA a fringe organization?” That these are funny shows how the leftward drift of big media and government have alienated much of the American populace.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Great 4.0

    Screenwriter Billy Ray also did great work on a previous docudrama: Captain Phillips in 2013.

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5
  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Brutal 2.8
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.2

    The FBI agents are composites. More salaciously, there’s no proof that the sexy reporter shagged the sexy FBI agent. History vs. Hollywood on Richard Jewell has the details.

    Artistic license aside, Richard Jewell shows how the FBI tricked their prime suspect into incriminating himself, a misdeed for which they got off scot free by claiming to do their duty. Back to the 2019 relevance, this throws into relief the recent IG report of FBI involvement in the 2016 presidential election, since the bad actors within the Bureau were allowed to claim that no bias was behind their outrageous actions.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.7
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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