The historical drama Good Night, and Good Luck is nominated for six Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director George Clooney, Actor David Strathairn, Original Screenplay written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Cinematography, and Art Direction. The film evokes the era of the 1950’s in America, from its black and white cinematography, to the constant cigarette smoking by nearly everyone who walks onscreen. Laced throughout the action is Dianne Reeves singing jazz that is not only beautiful to listen to, but also helps illustrate the times.
The cast worked well together and featured such renowned actors as Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson, George Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Tate Donovan, and Frank Langella. It is rated PG, and gets its story told in a sparse 93 minutes. Central to the film is David Strathairn playing Edward R. Murrow, the famous broadcast journalist who would not compromise his values while delivering the news.
In the early 1950’s, communism was made to be a serious threat to the United States, and fueling the paranoia was Senator Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin. CBS reporter Murrow and producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney) agreed to launch fair and accurate reporting on McCarthy, even though it could have had serious repercussions for the network.
The film not only documents the showdown between Murrow and McCarthy, it also subtly illuminates the parallels between the political climate of the 1950’s and today. Murrow makes some observations about television that ring true even now; how the medium can entertain, amuse and insulate the public, or if used in another way, can serve to teach, illuminate, and inspire. The choice is ours.
This is a thoughtful and well-executed film, at turns humorous, sad, and inspiring. If you don’t get to see it before its run is through at the theaters, by all means go out and rent it. George Clooney did an amazing job directing this film, sure to be a classic. Interspersed between the acting is actual footage of Senator McCarthy from the 1950’s, so no actor had to portray him in the movie. The exquisite black and white cinematography pulls the actual footage and the film together seamlessly. Good Night, and Good Luck is yet another film from this year worthy of showing to students on campuses everywhere.