I am happy to report that liberal film scores yet again with George Clooney’s film “Good Night and Good Luck”, a dynamite new film focusing on Edward R. Murrow and his dealings with Joe McCarthy during the 50’s Red Scare. The film is quite pointedly a discussion of how advertisers and government try to muscle the media into doing their bidding and are willing to go to any length to ensure that it happens.
The film covers a few wonderful instances when Murrow and CBS stood up to these powers and either made them back down or fought back and won. If you need a feel good movie that speaks to the heart and soul of American democracy this is the one, not only for the subject matter but for the great performance by David Strathairn as Murrow.
Clooney is quite straightforward about his intentions by the episodes he focuses on in Murrow’s life (he directs, co-writes and co-stars). Except for a small subplot about supporting characters, the entire film is set in the television studio or local bar they hang out after work during the time when Murrow begins to speak out against the McCarthy witch hunt. The other scenes are actual footage of McCarthy during the hearings.
This is a beautifully shot film that takes you up close during a battle that, if it had gone sour would have affected news reporting for decades afterward. It makes you wonder what would have happened during the Nixon years if reporters like Woodward and Bernstein were shackled had Murrow been discredited. It also highlights how our press now consists of the Judy Miller’s and DC press hacks who until recently mostly just nodded in the run up to the Iraq War.
So much food for thought in this film, I recommend you check it out at your local theater. Supporting a film like this one sends a message that we want film to examine these issues and reward them when they do it so well.
Bravo Mr. Clooney on a very important film. I look forward to his next feature (acting, not directing) in “Syriana” which looked topical and engrossing. Both “Syriana” and “Jarhead” trailers shown before the film look amazing and show there is much more liberal film in the pipeline for the autumn season.
cross-posted at Liberal Streetfighter