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‘Richard Jewell’ Is Another Stark Hero Story From Clint Eastwood

by Ace Damon
'Richard Jewell' Is Another Stark Hero Story From Clint Eastwood

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1986: Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), an Atlanta law firm employee, overhears a heated telephone discussion between a lawyer, Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) and a US Senator. Contrary to Jewell or Bryant's (or ours) expectations, the two begin to talk and become friends. During a shooting game at a nearby arcade, Jewell confides that he wants to enter the police. "APD, FBI, maybe Secret Service," he says. He is not picky: what he wants is to protect people. Later, when it's time for Jewell to move on – he got a job working safely – Bryant holds Jewell with a promise, or rather a kind of bet. Don't become an idiot, he says. "A little power can turn a person into a monster, Richard." Jewell promises to be different.

1996: Piedmont College. Richard Jewell has become a jerk – a campus rental cop who walks the halls with a waving police baton and a POLICE cap on his head. He was called to the dean's office for harassing a student, and that is not all: he has already won a thick case full of complaints, including reprimands for pulling people along the nearby road, something a campus police officer has no authority to do. "I believe in law and order, sir," he says when pressed to explain. "You can't have a country without him." He had already been fired from his previous job at a sheriff's office following complaints. From this moment on, he is again unemployed.

That is, until the 1996 Summer Olympics, which had just arrived in the city, bringing with it a new batch of local jobs – including security jobs, such as Jewell holds. It's his first day of service and he wears his white shirt, labeled "Security," with a mixture of pride and deflation. He asks his mother, "You're still a cop, aren't I just watching a bunch of stereo equipment and other decorations?" Bobi Jewell (Kathy Bates) says: Hell, yes. The next day, while working safely near a radio tower in Centennial Park, Jewell finds a bomb and alerts the "authorities," of which he is not one, not really. The bomb explodes; one person dies and over one hundred are injured. Jewell, hero, quickly becomes suspicious.

For a movie that has already earned a reputation, not fully undeserved, for being a simple piece of conservative propaganda, Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell is very ambivalent toward the authoritative forces at its center – and often toward its hero. titular, whose singular bravery is a strong counterpoint to the ways in which this authority works and whose desire to conform to that force, to be not only a hero but also a hero in uniform, seems equally untenable. This is no less important because, as he learns throughout the movie, he will never be like the people he admires.

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If it is not clear from these opening sketches, this is an image of Eastwood: precisely, economically told, with a strange coldness. (is based on a Vanity Fair story Marie Brenner published it in 1997.) Like Sully, it's a movie about a man whose salvation is criticized by seemingly uncontrolled political powers and media attention. Like the American Sniper, it is a portrait of an ostentatious benefactor failed by the institutions whose values ​​he sought to protect. Jewell is less talented than previous films, but equally embittered, strange, troublesome, deceptively simplistic and utterly fascinating, because Eastwood's political parables so clearly rage the enemies of his heroes that it is often gratifying to see the director look. rise and exalt. n Focus your mistakes with contagious righteousness. Jewell, to his credit, is anchored by one of Eastwood's most complex canon heroes. But I am still not sure that I will find the most difficult or convincing way in this story.

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