He did it again. Despite his almost 90 years, Clint Eastwood has made another feature film that is quite something. «Richard Jewell» tells the story of a simple security guard who becomes an uncontrolled hero and a few days later a tragic figure.
Streaming platforms and Hollywood are showing us how to take digital babies by the hand globally and guide them foolproof through a film plot. Clint Eastwood, who has long since become a misunderstood old master of silent and socially critical films, can do the same. But not only.
With heroic courage to his own ruin: «Richard Jewell» by Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood not only manages to lead his audience, but also to release them again during a narration. His films are – unlike many current feature films – no heroic journeys for an audience that was born stupid and has not learned anything new. They are also a journey that every viewer makes for himself. That also applies to «Richard Jewell» .
«Richard Jewell» is no exception. This film lets us share in the fate of the main character Richard Jewell as if she were a member of the family. At the same time, the director repeatedly creates very specific moments of distance. Thus, Clint Eastwood’s latest work creates a pull that is hard to resist.
The most dangerous thing is to think that everything is perfect. This rarely ends well.
In «Richard Jewell», Clint Eastwood offers space to reflect directly on what he has seen. As a director, he creates a map, so to speak, on which we as viewers have to orient ourselves.
One can accuse «Richard Jewell» of giving this direction. Some of the less advantageously portrayed in the film did so, too. However, with that you only criticize the work for having a plot line. Within this plot, however, and this becomes even more important, the actors move in a closeness to life and oftentimes with a helplessness and emptiness, which the viewer can’t help but fill out of himself.
As a director, Eastwood has relied on the genius of his actors since his first work. He has not only led actress Hillary Swank to top performances and an Oscar.
The great Paul Walter Hauser (33), who had his first leading role in «Richard Jewell», is a discovery. He manages to be both cliché and contradiction at the same time. And thus to embody universal hardships of human existence in a reconciliatory way.
Kathy Bates, who received an Oscar nomination for it, plays his mother as a supporting role.
Based on a true Story: «Der Fall Richard Jewell»
«Richard Jewell» is an old-fashioned film in a new world. The plot, based on a true story, revolves around the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA.
The capital of Georgia was struggling with high crime at the time. To reassure the more than three million visitors and over 10,000 athletes expected for the Games, the then mayor declared Atlanta the “safest city” in the world. More than 35’000 security forces, equipped with a budget of over 100 million dollars, were to ensure the well-being of the visitors. One of them was Richard Jewell.
Nevertheless, a bomb exploded in the heart of the city on the ninth day of the Games. Two people died: a tourist and a Turkish TV reporter who died of a heart attack while covering the assassination. More than a hundred people were injured.
The IOC, which had opened up a new dimension of commercialisation of the Olympic Games with these summer games in the USA, declared after the attack: “The Games must go on”. Driven by the thirst of the press for news in the clarification and revenge, authorities and politicians pushed for an early success of the investigation. A search for the bomber that was as helpless as it was desperate began. At its centre: Richard Jewell, an overweight security guard who at 33 still lived with his mother and dreamed of becoming a real policeman.
As often in Eastwood’s films, «Richard Jewell» is also about the big, deep human questions at the end: Everyone wants the best. They just understand different things. Where the American dream collides with reality is where Eastwood’s mastery as a director begins.
Leonardo DiCaprio und Jonah Hill
Those who take the trouble to study the film credits in the credits of «Richard Jewell» will be amazed. Among the producers, some of the most famous names in the business. For example the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the comedian Jonah Hill (who has already appeared with DiCaprio in the same film in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, 2013).
Interesting and nice that a young generation of Hollywood stars behind the scenes financially supports the work of Clint Eastwood. Leo DiCaprio, born in 1974, is just half the age of the old master. Jonah Hill at the tender age of 36 could be the director’s grandson in terms of age.
Clint Eastwood: Lumberjack, Hollywood star, director
Clint Eastwood turns ninety this May. He grew up on a chicken farm in the 1930s. Before his Hollywood career he worked as a lumberjack, gas station attendant and warehouse clerk. In 1953 he got his first speaking role in a feature film.
Ten years later “Dirty Harry” became a megastar and legend with the spaghetti western “For a Fistful of Dollars”. For his directorial work in “Million Dollar Baby” he received two Oscars at the age of seventy. «Richard Jewell» is his 41st film directed by him.
Anyone who knows how incredibly demanding and stressful the months of shooting a feature film can be, wonders how one can even manage to run such a marathon at the age of almost 90. Eastwood explains this in an interview with the “good genes” he inherited from his grandfather.
It’s lucky that the former western hero is still capable of such an achievement. Also in «Richard Jewell» the director proves his extraordinary powers of observation and respect even for people who superficially have no chance of success.
The former cowboy may have become mild in age with regard to his image of man. But his eagle eye and backbone have remained.