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Deep Focus: Richard Jewell

Deep Focus: Richard Jewell 5

Deep Focus: Richard Jewell 6

Images from Richard Jewell (Clint Eastwood, 2019)

In Richard Jewell, Clint Eastwood stages and times the explosion at Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta with teeth-rattling impact. The sequence contains some of Eastwood’s finest direction: he lets us drink in the mass picnic atmosphere of a pop/rock concert under the stars while an ultra-vigilant private security guard, Jewell, spots a suspicious-looking backpack under a bench near the park’s light and sound tower. As Jewell pulls in lawmen to investigate the device, we get caught up in his dogged attempts to enforce protocol and save lives, whether by warning and then clearing the tower (in two separate runs) or by helping officers create a perimeter around the “suspicious package.” As in the best parts of Sully, Eastwood captures the hair-trigger tension of professionals executing critical jobs under mortal stress, like…

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