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Drama - Police

Richard Jewell (2020 in Spain)


Duration 2h 11m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story A Vanity Fair article “The Ballard of Richard Jewell” by Marie Brenner
Director Clint Eastwood
Writers/Script Billy Ray
Starring Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm, Nina Arianda, Cathy Bates

Elevator Pitch: A procedure obsessed would be law officer, Richard Jewell, working at security at the 1996 Olympics identifies a suspect package, and  insists that the object is “called in”. When the bomb squad confirm that the package is bomb, Richard and the police attempt to clear the area, the bomb goes off, injuring 100 and killing two. Over time the FBI idenify Richard as a suspect and an FBI officer is induced by an offer of sex to reveal their views to a female reporter. The result is a media frenzy destroying Richard’s life and that of his mother, their protection solely a lawyer who usually processes real estate contracts.

Content: There is no sex or nudity and just a bit of beer drinking. We see Richard as the mail room man in 1986, where he meets Watson Bryant, then a bit of Richard’s history as a overzealous security man on a college campus, and his presence at the Olympic Park where music events are taking place. The explosion occurs. To start with Jewell is a hero, but then he is profiled by the FBI as a possible lone bomber. We see the female reporter seducing he FBI man and then the events which follow, mostly from inside the apartment where Richard lives with his mother.

A View: This film has not been universally aclaimed and up to date has not recovered its production costs, but the screen we went to in Madrid was virtually full, so it looks like a hit here. The script is well written and Sam Rockwell as the lawyer, Watson Bryant, (a real person) is absolutely terrific. And if you read the original article it can bee seen that practically all the extreme activities involving the FBI actually happened. So well worth the price of the cinema ticket unless you are a fan of US law enforcement.

Additional Info: There have been a lot of words written about the relationship between the FBI man and the newspaper reporter, if it could be called that, and although the John Hamm character is a composite he is identified in a book written last year about the event.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



  1. Pingback: Don’t Worry Darling (2022) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - September 26, 2022

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