Stills of "Good Night, And Good Luck."
(Courtesy from Archer Entertainment)
OF 6 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS 2005
including BEST PICTURE; BEST DIRECTOR; BEST ACTOR; BEST ORIGINAL
SCREENPLAY; BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY and BEST ART DIRECTION.
Drama Director: George Clooney Starring: George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr,
David Strathairn, Jeff Daniels, Patricia Clarkson RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins Released By: Archer Entertainment APPL Rating: PG
Date: 25 May 2006 (Exclusively at the Cathay Cineplex)
NIGHT. AND, GOOD LUCK.” takes place during the early
days of broadcast journalism in 1950’s America. It chronicles
the real-life conflict between television news pioneer Edward
R. Murrow (DAVID STRATHAIRN) and Senator Joseph McCarthy and
the House Un-American Activities Committee. With a desire
to report the facts and enlighten the public, the ground-breaking
Murrow, and his dedicated staff - headed by his producer Fred
Friendly (GEORGE CLOONEY) and (ROBERT DOWNEY JR.) in the CBS
newsroom - defy corporate and sponsorship pressures to examine
the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy
during his communist ‘witch-hunts’. A very public
feud develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor
of being a communist. In this climate of fear and reprisal,
the CBS crew carries on regardless and their tenaciousness
eventually pays off when McCarthy is brought before the Senate
and made powerless as his lies and bullying tactics are finally
uncovered. Yet Murrow and his team have paid a high price
and the show is shifted to a lesser time slot. Their legacy,
however, has remained intact and even reverberates today as
the standard for high quality broadcast journalism.
people go to the movies to be entertained, while others prefer
to leave the theatre learning something valuable from the
message of the film. If you belong to the latter group of
movie-goers, then this black-and-white film helmed by George
Clooney will definitely be your cup of tea.
The 93-minute docudrama recounts one of the most important
journalistic events in the 1950s, when the threat of Communism
created fear and mistrust in the United States. Senator Joseph
McCarthy exploited this paranoia among the Americans, and
charged individuals without giving them fair trials.
Enter patriotic CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer
Fred W. Friendly, who decided to confront McCarthy and expose
his callous prosecutions. However, no thanks to advertising
and political pressures, their journey to tell the truth was
a difficult one. Standing by their convictions and journalistic
beliefs, the team behind Murrow’s show “See It
Now” still managed to rid America of McCarthy’s
reckless behaviour, but at some personal costs nonetheless.
As one can see from the plot, it would definitely help if
you have some understanding of America’s cultural and
political history. Viewers with some journalistic background
will also stay focused and attentive throughout the film.
This is also to say that Clooney’s second directorial
work has the potential to lose its audience very quickly,
especially here in Singapore.
However, we would recommend that local movie-goers take some
effort to appreciate this film, if not for its political and
cultural relevance in the world we live in, then at least
for the movie’s high production values.
Because the story is set almost entirely in the pressurized
CBS newsrooms, most of the very tightly-framed scenes feel
claustrophobic. It effectively creates the tension and the
air of urgency in a fast-paced newsroom. Also, the endless
twirls of cigarette smoke add to the anxious atmosphere of
Kudos to cinematographer Robert Elswit, who has successfully
created the look of the 1950s. Thanks to his assured and stylish
framing of the picture, the era has never looked better on
the big screen. Some may feel that the shots come off as showy,
but it only goes to prove that his precision and planning
of the scenes are nothing less from perfect.
Those who love jazz music will also adore the movie for Dianne
Reeves’ sexy and soulful renditions of jazz songs during
Given the film’s serious plot, it will take a very good
ensemble of actors to pull it off. Like its production value,
the entire cast gave a flawless performance.
Playing Murrow is David Strathairn, whom we think was robbed
of the Best Actor trophy at the Academy Awards earlier this
year. He plays the heroic broadcast journalist with so much
conviction and authority; you can feel the deafening silence
when he delivers his speeches.
Other than taking on the role of the director, Clooney plays
the character of Murrow’s producer, Friendly. His weighty
and confident performance of the supportive producer is also
a joy to watch. Interestingly, both Strathairn and Clooney’s
voices are nice and resonating to listen to in a theatre equipped
with a good sound system.
The wonderful cast is rounded up by supporting characters
played by trusted actors like the charismatic Robert Downey
Jr., the elegant Patricia Clarkson and the affecting Frank
Looking beyond the movie’s production values and cast
performance, it is also important to realize what the film,
as a form of mass media, means to us in the society we live
in today. Look out for Strathairn’s final speech on
the functions of the media, whether it is meant to entertain
or inform, and the potentials it has on the people. It is
one long speech that will make you ponder what kind of information
society we live in.
After Strathairn delivers Murrow’s famous sign-off line
“Good Night, and Good Luck”, and the screen goes
to black, it will have you leave you in your seat, satisfied
and affected by what the movie has given you as a media consumer.
(A highly recommended intense film for the thinking audience
which will have viewers pondering about integrity, ethics
and truth-telling in the mass media)