Richard Jewell | Chicago Reader
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Richard Jewell

For better or worse—some will say better, many more will say worse—Clint Eastwood is the most American director working right now. Not the greatest, mind you, just the most. This is especially evident in several of his recent films, each one as divisive—and thus reflective of the current political climate—as the last. This compelling docudrama details the events and aftermath of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as they impacted security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser in an inspired performance), who discovered the bomb and was later suspected by the FBI of having planted it, a suspicion that was unduly promulgated by the news media. Most thematically aligned with Eastwood's 2016 masterpiece Sully, this too explores the complicated relationships between ordinary people and organizational bodies. Not without its share of controversy involving the portrayal of real-life journalist Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), the film may seem straightforward in its message. But like much of Eastwood's recent work, it’s more nuanced than it lets on; the film illuminates contradictions on all sides of the equation, including those of its own. With Kathy Bates, Sam Rockwell, and Jon Hamm.

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