'Richard Jewell,' Clint Eastwood's Movie About the Atlanta Olympics Bombing, Looks Surprisingly Good

It tells the story of a security guard wrongly accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Olympics who, in reality, saved countless lives.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, United States
October 3, 2019, 4:21pm
Richard Jewell
Screengrabs via Warner Bros. / YouTube

Clint Eastwood has been on a weird, seemingly Republican-tinged moviemaking kick for the past few years, fixating on stories about patriotic Americans who take out terrorists (American Sniper, The 15:17 to Paris), get wrapped up in shady Mexican drug-running schemes (The Mule), and otherwise Beat the Odds to Do Something Good (Sully). Most of his recent movies have been mediocre at best, and unwatchable at worst—which is why it's so surprising that his latest outing, about the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, actually looks… kind of great?

On Thursday, Warner Bros. dropped the first trailer for Richard Jewell, a film about the security guard who found a bomb at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park in July of 1996 and, in turn, saved countless lives. Jewell was initially lauded as a hero—but after he was named a person of interest in the case, the news media turned on him, aggressively pursuing the narrative that Jewell had planted the bomb himself. His life descended into absolute hell, as he went through intense police questioning and faced a media frenzy everywhere he went—only to wind up exonerated in October of 1996, after four months of complete misery.

Eastwood's telling of Jewell's story looks pretty gripping, and the film's cast is stacked. Jewell is played by Paul Walter Hauser, who was quietly great as Tonya Harding's dimwitted criminal bodyguard Shawn Eckardt in I, Tonya. Sam Rockwell plays Jewell's lawyer, Jon Hamm plays the FBI agent trying to get him to confess to a crime he didn't commit, and Olivia Wilde portrays a local journalist who ruthlessly paints him as a terrorist in the press.

Sure, it's too early to say that Richard Jewell won't wind up being another stinker like The 15:17 to Paris, but judging from the trailer, this thing could turn out to be Eastwood's first truly great movie in a while. Watch it above, and check out Richard Jewell when it hits theaters on December 13.

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