While Clint Eastwood directorial Richard Jewell will officially release on December 13, the early reviews of the multistarrer have started coming in, and they mostly speak favourably of the filmmaker’s direction and the cast’s performance.
Variety praised the narrative and the way the filmmaker handled the tough spots in the movie. It said in its review, “A good story is a good story, and Eastwood knows how to tell a good story. With Richard Jewell, he and screenwriter Billy Ray — drawing from the Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell, by Marie Brenner — go about it in a broad and often too-simplistic sort of way, treating the hero bomber (played by Paul Walter Hauser in his first starring role) as a lovable loser. Still, the result is undeniably compelling, a kind of modern-day Ace in the Hole and a populist reflection of the public’s disdain for journalists and government alike, as told by a filmmaker (and let’s not forget: former mayor of Carmel, Calif.) with his finger on the pulse.”
The Hollywood Reporter compared it to the Tom Hanks film Sully and said, “In format and focus, the new film emerges as a close brother to the aviation drama Sully, which also centered on a man who became a hero just by doing his job but whose actions were similarly, if less severely, picked apart by the press and authorities. Sully raked in $241 million worldwide and, while its box office might have benefited a bit from a guy named Tom Hanks in the lead role, the new pic’s concern with the vindication of an innocent man provides a similar dramatic trajectory that’s also quite satisfying.”
Screendaily heaped praise on the actors involved and said in its review, “Character actor Paul Walter Hauser presents us with an insecure pushover who longed to be in law enforcement, and the performance nicely captures the complexity of an uncommunicative, sometimes exasperating main character. Sam Rockwell is superb as Jewell’s brusque lawyer, and the entire film benefits from a muted wistfulness, which manages to convey the injustice of what occurred without overselling the theatrics.”
Indiwire’s verdict was also quite positive as it said, “Even as Hauser’s performance lends the film a tragicomic edge, Eastwood’s solemn filmmaking never mocks his protagonist’s unfortunate place as the whipping post of the public eye. Arturo Sandoval’s hushed piano score is rarely present, until the movie gets into its second, more emotional half, and never veers into mawkishness.”
Based on a harrowing incident from 1996, Richard Jewell aims to tell the story of a ‘sad’ security guard who ends up becoming a prime suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.
The official synopsis of the movie reads, “Based on true events, ‘Richard Jewell’ is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. ‘There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.’ The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell (Hauser) as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing — his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart.”
Richard Jewell stars Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde.