Skip to comments.Clint Eastwood Movie, **Richard Jewell**, Reviewed by Larry Schweikart
Posted on 12/14/2019 10:24:12 AM PST by gaijin
Years ago a professor of film studies told me that "Breaking Away" was one of the best "coming of age" films he'd ever seen because it didn't involve sex, but rather a boy being disillusioned with his cycling childhood heroes.
"Richard Jewell" is in many respects a coming of age movie. Most people know the story: Atlanta Olympic Games security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), who had been fired from a police department and from a college for excessive enthusiasm, finds a bomb in a backpack left at the Atlanta Centennial venue. He calls the police, assists in moving people away, thereby saving lives, and is at first branded a hero.
But the FBI, led by Agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm in a superb bad-guy role) and Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde, who sleeps with Shaw to extract the information that Jewell was a suspect) are convinced that Jewell is the bomber.
Here is where the plot deepens. Director Clint Eastwood doesn't pull punches with Jewell, showing his incredible naivete, his simplicity, and his quasi-redneck existence. Jewell does not perceive at first that the FBI is after him, and tries to be as supportive as possible. The line "I'm law enforcement too" (probably repeated more than "With great power comes great responsibility" in Spider-Man) is Jewell's theme . . . except it's not true. It's what Jewell wishes he was.
Shaw immediately perceives that and plays on Jewell's incredible innocence. The FBI brings in Jewell for a "training video," asking him to sign away his rights as apart of the video! Then and only then does Jewell finally get suspicious and asks for his lawyer.
Fortunately for Jewell, he only knows one lawyer---Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), whom he knew in a previous job. As we learn from Jewell, Bryant was the only one at that job who took Jewell seriously and who did not make fun of him. Indeed, Bryant nicknames Jewell "Radar" for his attention to detail.
Slowly, Bryant convinces Jewell that the state (especially the FBI) is not his friend, nor even an honest investigative party, but a lynch mob, a witch hunt convinced of its target with insufficient evidence.
Jewell comes of age when he realizes that it is NOT that he isn't "Law Enforcement," but that the "law enforcement" agencies that he had idolized and believed in all his life did not exist any longer, if they ever existed at all.
That is the power of "Richard Jewell." I think I speak for millions of Americans who once looked up to the FBI, likely from the weekly propaganda of the "FBI" television show with Efram Zimbalest, Jr. While the aura of the CIA as a heroic and pure band of anti-communists has long ago been removed ("13 Hours," "Charlie Wilson's War", "American Made") the FBI still maintained some reputation as the guys who fought Dillinger and the Mob.
But "Richard Jewell" shows that those images we all held were naive at best and dangerous at worst. The FBI tramples every civil right in the book, persuading Jewell to do a taping of a bomb warning, bugging his house, trying at first to deny him a lawyer. There is no possibility in the minds of the FBI agents that Jewell is innocent, even when it is proven he could not have made the call to the police and been at Jewell's location. (When Scruggs finally tests this theory, at least she was humbled by it and changes her mind---but does not print a retraction.)
In short, "Richard Jewell" is a movie for our time because on a micro level it encapsulates exactly what we have watched happen to President Donald Trump on a macro level: a politicized group of agents, completely biased and prejudiced to their own outcome, rig a case to frame someone without a shred of evidence. Anyone who says the movie is about anything else is not paying attention.Most of all, the film says in mirror form that if they can "do it to Richard Jewell, they can do it to Donald Trump, even if he's president."
Eastwood's specialty is character studies---Billy Munny, Sully Sullenberger, Earl Stone. In Richard Jewell he found a great character, played in an Oscar winning performance by Hauser, who could be Jewell's twin brother. While Hamm and Rockwell and Kathy Bates (as Jewell's mother, Bobi) deliver solid performances, Hauser has the viewer thinking he is just a simpleton until he finally boils over after a tongue-lashing by Bryant. It is then we see that it is Jewell's loss of faith in the whole system he has defended that is really eating at him.
Most of all, Eastwood subtly reveals the contempt the elites--whether reporters or bureaucrats---have for common people, whose lives they freely destroy with no comeuppance. The most unsatisfying part of the film is that neither Scruggs nor the FBI in general nor Shaw individually were ever held to account for their heinous actions against a true hero. For these and many other reasons "Richard Jewell" is a must see this holiday season.
Atlanta Olympics, 1996:
An overweight security guard Richard Jewell finds a bomb in a crowded Atlanta park, an act of terror. He alerts the cops, but the bomb goes off and a desperate Bill Clinton facing a reelection bid ORDERS the FBI to simplify things by making Richard Jewell the perp.
Knowing Richard Jewell revers real cops the FBI brings him in for questioning, finally pretending to relent and accept his story of innocence. They then flattered him and lowered his guard by chatting him up in grand style like A Law Enforcement Colleague.
The FBI then claimed to Jewell that they were making a Training Videotape simulation in which a perp under questioning breaks down and confresses to a bombing, Ah shucks, our actor crapped out, got sick, say Richard, would ya help us FBI guys out..?
A micrometer away from consenting to help them with their training video, Jewell suddenly realizes if he cooperated with his friends, they might turn around use the tape against him in the world famous bombing that just transpired.
He calls his ex-roomate, a lawyer, who admonishes Jewell that hes in very grave danger. He leaves the FBI questioning and AVOIDS LIFE IN PRISON BY A WHISKER.
YOUR FBI IS **FINE** ACTING AS AN INSTRUMENT OF POLITICAL TERROR.
It started at least 20 years ago.
Mr. Eastwood is just batting them out of the park...
I saw the movie.
I loved it.
I’d recommend it to any Freeper.
Very good review by LS. Thanks for posting.
Actor left, real right
This is better than “The Empty Chair”.
The exact blast time: Known with great precision
The exact 911 call time: Known with great precision
If HE had been the perp, he would have to BE in those two locations at those times, right?
Yet he would have had to be an Olympic SPRINTER to have been the person to call 911 with the threats, and then then be near the subsequent blast.
Even after the looked into that basic fact, they did not stop.
Unfortunately, the film has been bombing in the box office. I am taking my wife to see if this afternoon, and we haven’t gone to a theater to watch a movie since our children were kids (they are all grown with their own kids now).
If you are listening/watching this thread Larry.
The moment the movie started I began to think about Richard Jewell and how strong of a man he must have been to survive the onslaught he endured.
I immediately began to mentally compare him to Trump and his strength to deal with the entire govt. and media lined up against him every day.
Excellent review, but haven’t seen the movie.
I’ve *never* had confidence in many federal institutions. I would never openly talk to LE about anything of import unless I knew the LE really well. I think many of them have contempt for the Constitution and BOR. And I say this as a Christian and a conservative.
Dr. Bruce Ivins, senior biodefense guy at Fort Detrick, author of two anthrax patents --basically a genius microbiolgist. He was born in a small town in Ohio, his dad was a pharmacist.
Let's take a gander at juuuust how crazy Ivins was as a youth, shall we..?
Dang, get off that microscope, Buddy Holly, wow.
You know that expression, "The man was a CHOIR BOY"..? Kay, Dr. Ivins WAS an actual choir boy. Based on the above mini-bio that should not surprise you. He married a nursing student and had two kids.
He got interested in macrophages, then anthrax and received the "Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service" the highest award given to Defense Department civilian employees.
The Feds tried to pin the anthrax mystery on Steven Hatfill, who got pissed and won $6 mil for it, probably something that got some folks in trouble. The head of the FBI ROBERT MULLER, who at that point probably wasn't leaving the blinker on and drooling quite so much at the Bingo Parlor, then tried to ping the whole anthrax mystery onto Buddy Holly, here.
Get out..! ROBERT MULLER did that...?! Yeah, I know, it's sooooo shocking, right?
The Feds figgered it was simply self-interest; the guy had originated the tech to fight anthrax, so an outbreak of it would be something that would put fortunes and the limelight onto him, right? Like a paunchy security guard "finding" a bomb --simple. Same song, different lyrics.
Weird thing is THIS anthrax was tinier than anything in either the Soviet or US inventories, this meant in air it would have great LOFT TIME, it would stay up in the air near breathing mouths, not settle down on the ground where it might be harmless. And the anthrax also featured anti-clumping silica on it --something also very high-tech.
WHOSE was it? They still don't know.
The Feds followed Dr. Ivins around, raided his house twice and the pressure by the Feds was so great they drove him nuts and finally killed himself.
You know what the defense of the Feds was?
"Hey, he was NUTS..."
YA LIKE THAT..?
Time after time the preferred political narrative is "Peace And Prosperity" but the Feds are under pressure to make a case go away, so they just pin it on somebody nearby, and they wad it up, call it solved, and throw it into the garbage:
THAT is your FBI; deeply politicized and unprofessional.
Find a bomb? RUN and keep quiet. And if you have a really sharp head on your shoulders you better reconsider helping the feds with defense:
You could most unfortunately "go nuts and kill yourself".
Good job, Larry. Will definitely see that movie now.
RIP Richard Jewell. I’m sorry you never got to see this vindication for yourself.
Thanks gaijin and ls. This is a little unusual, okay, it's a lot unusual, for a modern history topic to be used for a GGG ping, and a GGG Digest ping to boot, but we never forget, FR is a political forum.
Another slow week -- here are the other GGG topics introduced since the previous Digest ping:
i thought of POTUS - and Carter Page - and Gen Flynn - and Geo Papadopoulos - who all have had reason to doubt the nature of the heart of this country.
Thanks for re posting this terrible photographic history.
The murders of these innocents were under the command of Bill Clinton and his bull dyke AG, Jake/Janet Reno.
Wasn’t Mueller the investigator? What a coincidence... he seems to always be on the wrong side of things.
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