Home
Home Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Review Updates

Good Night, And Good Luck. (2005)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Sign up to rate this movie.
7.2
 / 10
4 votes
Genres:
Docudrama, Drama, Period Film, Political Drama
Director:
George Clooney George Clooney
Starring:
Jeff Daniels Jeff Daniels
David Strathairn David Strathairn
Alex Borstein Alex Borstein
Rose Abdoo Rose Abdoo
Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves
Sponsored Links
Avatar
Review by bluemeanie
Added: November 03, 2005
As an actor, George Clooney is continually getting better and better. I can remember back when "The Peacemaker" first came out and it seemed as if he was going to be just another casualty amongst the many, many television actors whom venture into the realm of motion pictures. Then, he wised up. He took an alternate route. He not only started choosing more risky roles as an actor, but also began to dabble in directing. His directorial debut, "Confessions of A Dangerous Mind" was a tremendous critical success and proved that he certainly had the skills to cut it behind the camera. His follow-up to the Spike Jonze penned "Confessions" is a film that deals with, quite possibly, the most notorious and sinister politician in American history, Joseph McCarthy, the Senator from Wisconsin, who ruined hundreds of innocent lives in his quest to snuff out Communism throughout the world. Today we see his methods as nothing short of evil, but back when he was committing these terrible injustices, people tolerated him. George Clooney tackles the era of McCarthy through out pivotal time period - when CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow waged a personal war against McCarthy, risking both his professional career, as well as the careers of all who followed him into battle.

The film starts off vaguely, with Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) sitting around with a group of his producers, writers, and advisers (George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Tate Donovan, Thomas McCarthy), finally suggesting that they run a report on a young Air Force officer who was discharged from duty because McCarthy listed him as a possible Communist. This starts CBS down a path from which there seems to be no escape. Murrow & Co. continue their attacks on McCarthy, even going so far as to publicly ridicule him on national television, finally provoking a response from the Senator. As Murrow and McCarthy do battle, we get a keen insight into the air circulating the media during that time, as well as a pretty interesting history lesson. We know from the beginning that Murrow is probably smarter and better at verbal debates than McCarthy, and we have little doubt whom will prevail. The film ends, essentially, with the House agreeing to hold hearings into the injustices committed by McCarthy, and that final historic lines, "Have you, at long last, no decency, sir?" Unfortunately, "Good Night & Good Luck" does not cover the entire McCarthy-era, but merely the end of it, as Murrow and his crew helped to topple possibly the most powerful man in America.

This film reminded me a lot of Robert Redford's "Quiz Show" in the type of feelings it provoked and the type of claustrophobia it produced. Most of "Good Night & Good Luck" takes place inside the CBS news studio, with occasional trips to the local bar. The rest of the film is actual footage of McCarthy, so I guess you could say Joseph McCarthy plays himself in the film. The film is in black and white, which adds to that vintage feeling, and the performances also seem like a throw back to the attitudes and the persuasions of the old American media. George Clooney has seamlessly produced a film that seems so authentic and so real - like something out of a historical dream. However, the film is too short. I know - it covers the period it is suppose to cover, but I couldn't help but feel like it was missing something. I really didn't get that sense that their pursuit of McCarthy was really affecting these men. I guess Clooney just didn't get intimate enough with any of the characters other than Strathairn or Wise. I wanted more insight into what was making all of these men take on this huge undertaking. I wanted to see what could cause these men to potentially commit career suicide. Murrow's motived were clear, but he was certainly not the only character in this motion picture.

And the Academy Award goes to... all right, so maybe not everyone will get nominated, but this film was certainly littered with phenomenal performances. Let's start with Boss Hog, David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow. He gives one of the best performances of the year, and one of the best performances of his long and under-appreciated career. Hopefully, "Good Night & Good Luck" will kick him higher up the ladder, because he is an amazing talent. Secondly, let's hit Ray Wise as Don Hollenbeck, a performance that will probably go unheralded. Wise has been slowly creeping onto the radar these past few years and this performance shows how talented this guy really is - he does so much with a role that is given so little screen time, but such an important piece to the emotional puzzle of the film. And, that crafty old veteran Frank Langella sinks his teeth into a pretty fun role, as William Paley, the Big Boss Man at CBS. The remainder of the performances are stellar, with Robert Downey, Jr. showing his zeal for acting for the first time in a long while, and Patricia Clarkson continuing her streak of flawless acting. There isn't a single weak leak in the entire film, and that makes for good movie-making.

"Good Night & Good Luck" is a smart film for people who are interested in history, and America. It goes a little slow, at times, and it does have a couple of lulls that might cause more adrenaline savvy audiences to stretch and yawn. However, I found the story to be so compelling, especially in a day and age when we don't seem very far from reverting back to the days when civil liberties meant absolutely nothing. You have to think that writers George Clooney and Grant Heslov were thinking about the relationship between McCarthy-era America and The United States of Bush. "Good Night & Good Luck" deserves some special attention for Strathairn & Wise come awards time, and for a script which is ripe with excitement and intrigue. George Clooney continues to choose his roles very wisely, and he is turning into one of the best actor/directors in the business today - it looks very much like we may have the new Robert Redford on our hands. So, when this picture goes wide, make sure you do your research and check it out. Good Luck.

8/10.
Sponsored Links
Recommended Movies
Beyond The Gates Munich Frost/Nixon Bobby All The King's Men The Quiet American Charlie Wilson's War The Good Shepherd
Sign up to add your comment. Sign up to add your comment.
Layout, reviews and code © 2000-2014 | Privacy Policy | Forum | Song Lyrics