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Good Night, And Good Luck [Blu-ray]
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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.
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The story takes off when a pilot is dismissed from the US air-force on the grounds that he is a security risk. The reasons for this are rumored to be the political affiliation of his sister and the nationality of his father, however the details of the charges against him remained sealed. Rebelling against this Kafka like nightmare CBS news present a critique of his treatment and pose some questions for the the air force. The real drama begins though when they decide to take on Senator McCarthy who obsessively pursues his perceived enemies whether he thinks they exist believing he's uncovered a conspiracy where communists have secretly taken over much of the political and military establishment.
Civil liberties are being trampled over, McCarthy assumes the right to delve into the most intimate aspects of people's lives and put them on trial ignoring the obvious point that who among us hasn't ever had an odd friend or read a controversial book?
The performances in this film are absolutely outstanding as is the script and dialogue. The budget for this was pretty small and the results are very impressive.
The film also seeks to make a wider point that the media have an ethical responsibility to educate their viewer and examine moral issues instead of focusing on light entertainment, show business, gossip and sensationalist headlines and angry noisy soundbites, a message as relevant today as it was back in the 50s.
and precious little content this movie stands out
from the crowd. The confrontation between Ed Murrow,
as a crusading journalist, and senator McCarthy in
the 1950s over the latters witch-hunt of supposed
Communist fellow travellers has unsettling echoes in
our own politcal scene. How far should we go down the
track of limiting civil liberties in order to contain
a real or supposed internal security threat? This is a
movie where the action is in the dialogue, the conflict
is one of ideas and the hero is habeas corpus - it won't
suit every movie goers taste, but for those who want to
be stretched and provided with food for thought this is
a must-see movie. When Hollywood is often dominated by
eye-candy this is one film that is in a league of
its own; it will stand the test of time when the usual
fayre has long since found its way into the bargain bucket!
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