Thursday, November 10, 2005

"Good Night, and Good Luck" - a George Clooney movie

First of all, I need to take my anti-hypocrite pill and say what I wish so many other "reviewers" would: "This write-up may contain spoilers." I'll keep the beginning spoiler-free, though and warn you when the spoilers are a-comin'.

This movie, directed and partially written by George Clooney, is about CBS/Edward R. Murrow's eventual response and reaction to Senator McCarthy's communist witch-hunts. I must confess ignorance - a LOT of ignorance, when it comes to this topic. I'm very glad that someone cared enough to make this movie and to make it this well. I hope today's high schoolers have textbooks which focus on this period and these... *champions* a heckuva a lot more than mine did.

Great movie, imo.

It's a black and white movie, btw, with the following credits:
* Alex Borstein .... Natalie
* Robert John Burke .... Charlie Mack
* Patricia Clarkson .... Jenny Darmondy
* George Clooney .... Fred Friendly
* Jeff Daniels .... Frank Stanton
* Reed Diamond .... John Aaron
* Tate Donovan .... Jesse Zousmer
* Robert Downey Junior .... Jimmy Darmondy
* Frank Langella .... William Paley
* Thomas McCarthy .... Palmer Williams
* Glenn Morshower .... Colonel Anderson
* Matt Ross .... Eddie Scott
* David Strathairn .... Edward R Murrow
* Ray Wise .... Hollenbeck
* Grant Heslov .... Screenwriter
* George Clooney .... Screenwriter, Director

Credits sourced: Here.

*SPOILER WARNING* Anything after this point, maybe even comments, may spoil the story. Of course, the fact that it's based on actual events may make this a non-issue for some, but as I said earlier, this situation was one I was only vaguely familiar with before having seen this movie.

There are some very obvious parallels between the tactics and dynamics of the McCarthy era and those of today - at least, in my opinion. My girlfriend and I picked up on them, ourselves. I didn't see Clooney making the rounds to "hype the movie" by pulling parallels out of thin air, so my opinion's certainly not based on that.

The ones that most readily come to-mind:
* Creating, perpetuating, and/or taking advantage of a climate of fear.
* Accusation without authentication.
* Blindly and broadly questioning the patriotism of everyone who happens to disagree.

The movie was like a documentary-plus, in my eyes. It seemed to be all about the facts and delivery and tone and circumstance of the actual events, as witnessed by many Americans, but it also shows (or depicts) what went on behind-the-scenes.

-Murrow's fear of the consequences of his actions
-the marriage that's kept under-wraps for most of the movie and why
-the battles Murrow was and wasn't willing to fight simultaneously and what that cost him and others

-Gotta mention the wicked amount of smoking going on in this film. Dayum.

There's a lot to mention and I'm sure I'm not doing it justice, but I never claimed to be a great movie reviewer. I'm just a great movie watcher who happens to enjoy talking about them.

If I think of more to add later, I'll edit it in or respond, if there should be any comments.


Ed Cunard said...

That's a flick I really want to see. A question--did the smoking surprise you? From what I understand, newsrooms were always smokey, smelly places--I'm kind of a little bit fond of that image. Or was the surprise that they didn't cut that stuff out with the current attitudes towards smoking?

West said...

For one thing, I was surprised to see, not only smoking in the newsroom, but smoking by the host... on the air. I may have forgotten the former, but I never even knew about the latter.

The difference in attitudes toward smoking, gender roles, politics... Scratch that last one. But it helped put me in the right mental space to tune into the kind of world this was and how these events would be/should be viewed within that context.

Nah. I never thought they should've cut it out. Not at all. That's how it was. If they can show Braveheart brainin' the shit out of somebody, they can show a few cancer-sticks.

Ed Cunard said...

Sadly, I'm still probably going to have to wait for video. The next flick we'll see in the theatres is RENT, for my wife's birthday. Our first super-nice evening out was when I took her to see it on Broadway for Christmas.

Son of Blog-El said...! Man these jumps are getting ruff.

This review ties well into your "message in movies" post you will make in the future. This was an EXCELLENT movie.