Sunday, November 13, 2005
Review: Good Night, and Good Luck
It was a "Wow" film. The Saturday evening crowd clapped. We all meant it. First of all, it had an incredible cast that worked. Because we know of some of their real lives, the movie begins with the audience questioning whether we will actually buy them in these roles. Downey, Jr. in any role at this point makes an audience wonder. Soon after that, the audience is sucked in by the music, the incredible music! We are similarly drawn to Strathairn who maintains a stiff neck, a nearly emotionless Murrow. If I had seen him in any other role, I certainly couldn't recall it as I watched him tell me a story of a time that is integral to this country's maturing. The era was covered perfectly, down the the clocks on the wall that always seemed to say 10 o'clock. There were no jokes in this film, thank God. There was perfect off-handed wit. It was the kind of banter that would happen amongst co-workers with intellect. The single most brilliant part of the film was the use of the actual footage. We are used to watching re-enactments of these kinds of historical moments where words are changed to make the film more evocative. The makers of this film wisely knew that the footage would serve the purpose better than any actor. Another movie-making choice, a close second, was black and white presentation. For the elderly women next to me, I could feel them being drawn in all the more as it was the way they remembered watching Murrow all those years ago. I could hear those women, as well as my Mother, saying "I remember that". There was no sex and no violence. There was little cursing. These, too, were brave choices in a Hollywood era that nary goes without such elements. Admittedly, it is hard to watch George Clooney in a role like this one and not see George. With the man playing Murrow, however, he had me at "Good Night".
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