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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Blowing Smoke

Richard Jewell (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Kaboom!This movie recalls for us the expert direction of William Cameron Menzies on the burning of Atlanta in “Gone With the Wind,” showing up in the dream sequence in Alfred Hitch­cock's “Spellbound.” Here, how­ever, we witness Atlanta's Centennial Park bombing that occurred during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Hapless security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser) having stumbled on the bomb-containing back­pack followed protocol to spare Atlanta a greater blood­bath. Unfortunately for him, he fit the profile of the “hero-bomber”—one who aids in the after­math of a bomb he him­self planted—and so was the FBI's primary suspect. Once the media got wind of it Richard's life became a living nightmare.


Like Richard in private security I also was in a line that could or would aid the police at times. We amateur radio operators are known for helping with public events and in emergencies. Both Richard and I felt comfortable working with the men in blue.

I once found it advantageous to construct a memory Morse code sender at the Craft Center in the student union of the local university. I didn't want to disturb the other crafts­men when it came time to test it, much less the students doing their studying, so I brought it into the video game room where there were already enough bleeps and bloops that mine would go unnoticed. I spread out my equipment on a small table along with jar-type batteries and lots of wire.

By and by, an employee-only door opened and two men in suits came out to ask me what I was doing. When I explained the situation of not wanting to disturb the students while I tested my keyer, they were satisfied and told me the fellow man­ning the rec center desk had seen my setup on the closed circuit TV where it looked like a bomb. We got it straightened out with­out any fuss.

cop writing ticketThe difference between me an Richard was that while I went out of my way not to disturb my neighbors, he was invasive of their privacy leading Dr. W. Ray Cleere (Charles Green) provost at Piedmont College, where Richard Jewell had worked as a campus cop, to alert the FBI about the many complaints they had against him. He would invade students' rooms with­out a war­rant looking for dope, and he would try to inter­dict their supply out on the street—he had “no juris­diction on the high­way.” His many complaints and firings put him too far over the edge for the fibbies to drop it once they had a line on him.

(Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” Operating as a zealot for law and order put Richard in the cross hairs of the FBI like to destroy his reputation. Further­more, when FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) leaked the name of their prime suspect to reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC,) it made the public too wise to their suspect. He'd eventually be cleared leaving a damaging credibility of the feds.

(Eccl. 7:17) “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” Agent Shaw had leaked info to reporter Scruggs in exchange for sexual favors. The movie by innuendo attributes her successful journalism career to sleeping with various men of influence, making sex with her a dangerous proposition, especially if done on the spur of the moment with­out regard to protection. Richard for his part makes a lot of foolish diet choices putting him way over­weight and in danger of an early demise.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Clint Eastwood. The screenplay was written by Billy Ray who based it on the 1997 Vanity Fair article, “American Night­mare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” by Marie Brenner. The movie stars Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, and Brandon Stanley. The acting was good all around. I especially liked Nina Arianda who played with verve Nadya the para­legal of Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) Jewell's lawyer.

MPAA rated it R for language including some sexual references, and brief bloody images. It was filmed on location in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The AJC has taken issue with this film's dramatic license in implying that their star reporter Scruggs used sexual favors to obtain scoops. East­wood's relentless attention to detail, his straight­forward direction, and his spot-on casting made the movie palatable though not especially memor­able. It works as a docudrama plain and simple.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This is a run of the mill film as far as entertainment goes, but it comes through as a timely thought provoker.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scene. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.