3/4

Richard Jewell [2019] ★★★

Simply put, “Richard Jewell” is director Clint Eastwood’s best film since 2016’s “Sully”. Yep, Eastwood, 89, is still out there making films that resonate with audiences in 2020. It’s a thing to admire, but I expect nothing less from the man who gave us “Gran Torino”, “Invictus”, “American Sniper” and “Sully” in the span of a decade. Now his focus shifts to the events that took place at the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. A bomb goes off at the Centennial Park. A security guard (that would be Richard Jewell, wonderfully played by Paul Walter Hauser) is hailed as a hero for saving lives. The end. Except it wasn’t. Few days later, Jewell becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Why? How? That’s for you to discover. Suffices to say that Eastwood keeps us intrigued at every turn, especially if you’re not familiar with Jewell’s case. He has also assembled a terrific cast that includes Sam Rockwell (as our man’s lawyer), Kathy Bates (as his mother), Jon Hamm (as the FBI agent determined to bring him down) and Olivia Wilde as a journalist treating the case as her next “scoop”. Eastwood may have sweetened the true story it was based on, but it’s still a fine film nonetheless, with a great performance by Paul Walter Hauser, who truly gives the movie the jolts of ferocity and feelings it needs.

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