Richard Jewell — 3.5 Gavels 75% Rotten Tomatoes

If only the media would get half this upset when someone else’s goose is getting cooked. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has every right to be appalled that Richard Jewell implies their reporter sleeping with an FBI agent to get a story. “Imagining” events is no way to ruin another’s reputation. So, where was the outrage on the movie Vice? Rather, the media mostly ignored the fiction and applauded the Oscar nominations. While ranting, where is the media outrage at profiling Jewell? I thought profiling was unacceptable regardless of race.

You may notice that I typically downgrade my ratings by at least .5 Gavels if there seems to be major historical inaccuracies. Why ruin a good story? And, Richard Jewell is a great story, warning of the dangers of leaks and rush to judgments. Despite quality acting, the best I can do is 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 75% Rotten Tomatoes rating with no Audience score as yet.


Wannabe cop Richard Jewell is the guy that fits in nowhere. After being fired for exceeding his authority as a security officer at a local college, he hopes his good work for the Atlanta Olympics will be his avenue back into law enforcement. After an encounter with some rowdy kids at Olympic Park, he discovers the abandoned backpack. Jewell convinces skeptical cops to call the bomb squad. Despite saving hundreds of people, some are killed and injured. Jewell becomes the prime target. His actions almost make it too easy.

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To describe Richard Jewell as quirky is too kind. At times, he approaches creepy. Paul Walter Hauser gives an Oscar performance as Jewell. Sam Rockwell is always wonderful and his steady hand as Jewell’s lawyer also gives him the best lines. Kathy Bates is getting attention for her performance as Richard’s mother. Olivia Wilde plays the hard-charging, often swearing reporter.

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Final Thoughts

Unlike the 15:17 To Paris and The Mule, Clint Eastwood delivers a film that holds your attention. But, certain dialogue seems unlikely. Knowing the fake tryst, one easily wonders about the accuracy of other parts. The ACJ claims it discovered the time and distance problem, while Richard Jewell suggests the attorney uncovered it. Why did the writers use the reporter’s real name but use a fictional name for the FBI agent? Is there a double standard? In conclusion, it’s a fine movie if you go in knowing that fantasy still reigns supreme in Hollywood.

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