The Good Place
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Amazing how timely this movie is.
Extraordinarily slow, almost to the point of boring.
I have never understood the appeal of George Clooney as while I think Out of Sight (1998) and Up in the Air (2009) are perfectly fine films I could see several other actors doing a much better job than he does in the lead roles. As a director I am even less enthusiastic about him as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) is held together by a brilliant Charlie Kaufman screenplay and Leatherheads (2008) and Suburbicon (2016) are unmitigated disasters. Unfortunately his 2005 directing effort, Good Night, and Good Luck, was nominated for Best Picture so I decided to watch it in order to fulfill my goal of watching ever Best Picture nominee ever. I have to say it is probably the best film he has ever directed but it is also remarkably uninvolving for a film about an issue that impacted so many lives and it struggles to be emotionally stirring.
In 1953, at the height of McCarthyism in the United States, powerful television presenter Edward R. Murrow, David Strathairn, decides to take a stand against the morally corrupt politician and rail against him on air. He faces opposition from CBS executive William Paley, Frank Langella, and network director Sig Mickelson, Jeff Daniels, but he is supported by producer Fred Friendly, George Clooney. His report causes a scandal but McCarthy is allowed to appear on the show to defend himself while Murrow proves his credentials and attacks accusations that he is a communist. Subplots concern two employees at the network who are secretly married but cannot reveal this due to company policy.
The best scenes in the film come when we realize how McCarthyism didn't just effect the journalists and the public figures but also everyday people who feared the growing influence of this movement. At one point Shirley Wershba, Patricia Clarkson, informs her husband and co-worker Joseph, Robert Downey Jr., that she looked over her shoulder as she made a phone call and worries that she will continue to do this if McCarthyism continues to spread. The moment encapsulates the real horror of McCarthyism as normal people living inauspicious lives turned against one another and people felt that they could no longer express themselves freely. Clarkson delivers the dialogue wonderfully as she seems to be realizing her fears only as she vocalizes them and there is a sad shock in her voice as she loses the unshakable confidence we had seen in her to that point.
Where the film loses itself is in the scenes which follow it's main character as Murrow is not a very compelling figure and the film's ranting and raving about how journalism was better in the old days when reporters had integrity is material better explored in Network (1976) and of course, Citizen Kane (1941). I wanted to be electrified by the speeches that Murrow delivers and join him in his righteous anger but the low tenor that Strathairn employs and his inexpressive face failed to draw me in. The character I really found myself caring about was Don Hollenbeck, Ray Wise, who is played so compellingly with Wise's wide, emotive eyes conveying a deep depression that cuts straight to your core. Unfortunately we don't see nearly enough of him and spend a lot more time with Murrow who never reveals any emotional depth or shows us more than one note of his personality. Perhaps Clooney is trying to say that the ideal reporter is serious and stone faced all of the time and is unwilling to reveal the weaknesses of Murrow at the risk of the audience siding against him or not believing his convictions.
While 2005 was an incredibly weak year for cinema with Crash (2005) winning Best Picture and Capote (2005) making it into the Best Picture lineup I don't think this could be called one of the five best of the year. I would have nominated The New World (2005) and The Squid and the Whale (2005) over this mediocre movie and I believe that it only received this amount of recognition because a movie star like Clooney was attached to it. In terms of it's quality it's so-so and I don't think many people remember it but at least it's not the infamous film that would end up winning Best Picture that year.
The best, GREATEST movie ever made!
I think that if Good Night, and Good Luck had stopped trying to tell me how it important it was for thirty seconds, I might have been able to contemplate why it was important. This Academy Award-nominated movie feels like a student film and plays like a dry newsreel. I think the only reason this film got so much attention was because of the political climate of the time.
An exceptional film in every respect, most notably the superb writing, faultless acting, a level of attention to detail that is as rare as it is mesmerising, and a tense and intriguing story that is perhaps more relevant today than it was in the 1950's. Worthy of all its many, many nominations.
a provocative homage to the martyrs who lived..
Good Night, And Good Luck
There is a lot of content to offer to the audience in a very short and smartly timed, which can be off putting as it doesn't allow the audience to breathe and let it all sink in. It is accurately infomercial and highly adaptive but if considered as a dramatic act, there isn't much installed art to explore in here. The adaptation is smart and has a gripping screenplay keeping the audience engaged throughout its 90 minutes offering the audience enough homework to work on it which is fortunately worth in here too. George Clooney; the screenwriter and director, has done an excellent work on creating the '50s corporate world and the characters that revolves around it. David Strathairn is convincing in here and is supported well too by an amazing cast like George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Daniels. It is short on technical aspects like sound department and art design, but scores majestically on its amazing cinematography and brilliant camera work; it is shot beautifully. Good Night And Good Luck is a provocative homage to the martyrs who lived in the battlefield despite of ever entering one or preparing for one for that matter.
Look, if you're into this "news room" genre of film, I'm sure you'll have a good time with this one. It's well lit, well acted, well written, and genuinely kind of informative to younger people like myself who weren't familiar with why Ed Murror was so significant. It's also shot in lush black & white to achieve maximum nostalgic effect. That said, when you've seen one of these movies (think Network, The Post, Spotlight, All The Presidents Men AND SO ON), this slides so easily into the middle of the pack that it feels virtually insignificant. And boring. And small stakes. And white.
I did not like it, Sam I Am.
With a stellar ensemble cast Clooney deftly delivers a passionate and concise cinematic civics lesson in his second directorial outing. Good Night, And Good Luck proves a masterpiece of intimate dignity. One for the time capsule.
This is a great and passionate film thats worth checking out. It is beautifully shot, well-acted, and the dialogue is just fantastic. Great movie about Murrow's actions during the McCarthy trials.