Posted on 7/26/13 12:45 AM
Good Night, and Good Luck is interesting. And only that. Interesting. Forgetful, short, and dull, I felt GNGL was the weakest Clooney film I've seen. Ever. As much as I would've loved to like it, the only thing that kept me "interested" was the direction, David Straithem's performance, and occasionally the writing. Other than that, the film was unemotional, not powerful, and a black-and-white bore that felt it was trying to channel something from the excellent film "Network", but just fails.
I felt Good Night, and Good Luck was a modern day attempt at "Network" that doesn't work out. It's cast, though smaller, felt like an ensemble such as the one Network put together. You had everyone. From the head of the company to the failing journalist. On paper it should've been captivating and excellent with all these characters and great actors, but through execution, it did not work. The performances of these characters were varied, but boring. David Strathiem's impersonation of Edward R. Murrow was excellent, but sadly it was simply an impersonation, not bringing anything else to the character and making him very boring. George Clooney did a good job too, but he could do the character he played in his sleep. Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson played a couple with a side plot, but in the end it felt as if it brought no substance to the film whatsoever. Although Ray Wise had a meatier sub-plot, with a more meatier conclusion, I would say that was the climax and the only time I cared about any of the characters. But even that subplot and the character involved seemed lackluster, for it also felt as if it had no involvement of the plot, and that it was simply acknowledged and the characters moved on, not being affected whatsoever. Also, the film's running time was to short for what it could have been. When I felt finally invested in the characters, finally developed, the film ended. It did not give enough time for us to care about anything that happened. Development was too slow, and when the film ends, you don't care what happens to anyone.
The Direction was the one thing that kept me fully interested. For a directorial debut by George Clooney, I say kudos. It was solid throughout, but I felt the black and white was unnecessary, adding nothing to the film. I also did not feel or buy once that it was in the 50s, rather it felt it was in the 80s or 90s. The set pieces were weak, and production design was simple. But Clooney keeps you in the movie at times by keeping the simplicity low and the film moving fast. But I found myself sleeping many times within the film, having to wake myself up again and again.
The writing was mixed, but overall well done. I felt at times it was strong and humorous, but at others it was very force less and I felt the dialogue was weak. At times when the viewer was supposed to feel affected and startled by the film, I felt it was powerless and forgetful. This is partly because of Clooney's direction, but most in part that the monologue's Straithem has to carry on and on is too long. Long monologues in short films can be done right, but barely worked in this film.
I know, I feel as if all I'm doing is bashing on this film, but I wanted to like it. I wanted to enjoy the writing and the acting, and wanted to be fully invested in the characters and plot. But I wasn't, and the fact the film was so dull it made me drift off several times does not help. In the end, Good Night and Good Luck is a good directorial debut from Clooney, but one that keeps you bored and uncultivated. David Straithem's performance as Edward R. Murrow is to say the very least well done, but it feels the whole way through an impression, although a very, very good one. The writing is solid at times but overall long and messy, and the 50s feel this film should've had is not present. If you will attempt the film, go into it not caring for the characters, but feeling you will get a civics lesson on television and news, and an interesting taste of how operation behind the scnes of news television can be drab and arid. A film that should've, and very well could've been our modern time "Network", Good Night and Good Luck dissapoints me, and very well bores me, in the process. 6/10