Monday, December 18, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

Good Night and Good Luck, directed by George Clooney, starring David Strathairn, Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., and a few other familiar faces was released in 2005. My father saw it in a bin at the grocery store and decided to give it a try.

Yesterday, visiting my dad for our typical Sunday get together, we watched this film depicting the "battle" between Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy. The history books discuss the Senator's use of un-American tactics to find those who were un-American. It's pretty safe to say in this day and age that the witch hunt to find "Communists" is exactly as I wrote, "A witch hunt." Fear was used to create power and individuals backed away from defending those accused because they feared their names would next appear on the list of accused. The use of fear to create power is no different than terrorism and using the fear of terrorism to create false power is just as illogical. But I digress. What I meant to do is to review this movie.

Throughout the film, songs will start playing where the lyrics seem perfect to the storyline. Just about the moment you find yourself thinking, "Wow, they found the best song for this," you see the jazz band and woman singing the tune. Neat way to create a soundtrack. Effective and unique, which is a plus for the movie.

The black and white tonal quality of the film fits well into the memory of the times, Murrow's show and McCarthy's hearings were televised on black and white sets, far from plasma flat screens that may show the movie to many these days.

The acting was good - serious in the right spots, and although I do enjoy David Strathairn (from L.A. Confidential - Pierce Moorehouse Patchett!), he played Murrow in an interesting light. The character was real, serious, loyal, and an intelligent man, yet the eyes seemed to show a quiet motive to bring down the American government. Little odd.

The plot is where I wonder about this movie. The running time is a little under 90 minutes and in that time, there is the "war" waged between Murrow and McCarthy, the death of another broadcaster, a storyline about a married couple working at CBS, and a message about the purpose of television. It is a jumbled mess. Three of the storylines were not needed at all to tell the story and the story of the battle between Murrow and McCarthy should have been stressed more to show the actual impact. Murrow's broadcasts about McCarthy started near the end of the witch hunt and the end of the Congressional Hearings to find Communists is anti-climatic in the film.

Not bad, not good. If you get a chance to see it without paying for it, do. Don't waste money on the film though.