Oscar nominated drama directed by, written by and starring George Clooney. The year is 1953, television is still in its infancy and the esteemed broadcast journalist, Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn), anchors the popular news documentary show, 'See it Now', on CBS. Murrow, alongside producer Fred Friendly (Clooney), oversees a show that reports on the news items of the day. He has a dedicated crew of reporters that includes Don Hewitt (Grant Heslov), Joe Wershba (Robert Downey Jr.), Palmer Williams (Tom McCarthy), Jesse Zousmer (Tate Donovan), John Aaron (Reed Diamond), Charlie Mack (Robert John Burke) and Eddie Scott (Matt Ross). All these men will become broadcast legends, but right now, their careers are just beginning. With the threat of Communism creating an air of paranoia in the United States and Senator Joseph McCarthy exploiting those fears, Murrow and Friendly decide to take a stand and challenge McCarthy, exposing him for the fearmonger he is.
Considering Good Night and Good Luck
is only the second time hes stepped behind the camera, George Clooney has already marked his card as a director of real talent to watch. He also acts in this particular film, but generously leaves centre stage to the superb David Strathairn.
Set in the 1950s and based on true events, Strathairn plays news reporter Edward R. Murrow, who finds himself increasingly uncomfortable with the tactics used by Junior Senator Joseph McCarthy (of whom Clooney chooses to use real archive footage rather than getting an actor to play his role). The film finds McCarthy in the midst of his infamous crusade against communism, and Strathairn and Clooney lead the CBS news team who choose to report the other side of the story. Naturally, this ruffles more than a few feathers, and the film follows the investigation as it goes about stirring up a proverbial hornets nest.
The reason it works so well is its beautiful simplicity. Clooney shoots his film in black and white, with no flashy effects, no distractions, just a wise and worthwhile focus on telling a very good story in a very good way. Drawing quality performances not just from Strathairn but also from a strong supporting cast (including Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr and Patricia Clarkson), this is compelling, important movie making that leaves you thirsting for whatever Clooney elects to direct next. And if youre in the mood to check out another piece of highly-charged movie making, albeit with Clooney in front of the camera this time, then Syriana makes an ideal companion piece.--Simon Brew
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