Sunday, December 23, 2012

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) review

If I had a one word to describe George Clooney's 2005 film, it would be smoky. Most of the film takes place in smoke filled rooms with various CBS workers discussing their plan to expose Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman of HUAC (Hearings for Un-American Activities Committee). McCarthy blindly chose people and named them as communists just for attention and put the majority of the country in fear. But thanks to Edward R. Murrow, Fred Friendly and a team of journalists at CBS news, the tide changed and McCarthy's position was taken away from him. This is a big story and it is told very well by director George Clooney but unfortunately the film is too cramped, too fast and not long enough.

As I said, Good Night and Good Luck is about Edward Murrow's (David Strathairn) plan to expose Senator McCarthy and for the first time in the history of television, take an opinion on the news instead of just report it. Murrow has help from his friend Fred Friendly (Clooney), Joe Wershba (Robert Downey Jr.) and Sig Mickelson (Jeff Daniels) with some opposition from his boss (Frank Langella).

First off, Clooney's direction is fantastic. Good Night, and Good Luck was filmed in black and white and it helps the movie tremendously. There is so much Clooney does with the shadows and the smoke and the setting, you would think that he was a master at work. What he does with black and white is something I hadn't ever seen in a film besides Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Honestly, I shouldn't give all the credit to Clooney; whoever did the cinematography should have won a lot of awards in 2005. The cast is also a fantastic ensemble. Everyone has a small role except for Strathairn and Clooney but everyone contributes something to the film.

But there is one big problem in an otherwise gripping, entertaining, and interesting film: it's way too short. It feels like Clooney decided to play it safe in his directorial debut and make just a short, high quality film. But there is way more material than what is in Clooney's film. This story is so interesting and so good, that you just want to see more but Clooney doesn't put it in the film. The film runs for 93 minutes but you wish it was more like 123, because the content is surely there.

I can say that I really liked Good Night, and Good Luck but it felt very rushed and moved a little too fast for my taste. But it is definitely a film that you should watch and enjoy but I think that it is a bit of a disappointment because there is so much more that could have been done with the material provided.

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