Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Good Night and Good Luck" is an Excellent Example of Story Telling and Acting

In the 1950s, there was a air of paranoia running rampant through America, caused by the people's fear of Communism. To make matters worse, Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin rose to fame by perpetuating this fear. Upon his induction to the Senate in 1946, he introduced a list of 205 supposed Communist sympathizers, many of whom weren't actually part of the Communist party. The practice of "McCarthy-ism" is using personal threats as a type of character assassination, which is exactly what he did. Many of the people whom he claimed to be Communists were not, hence their personal and professional relationships were ruined.

At the same time as the famous McCarthy hearings, Edward R. Murrow, a broadcast journalist, and his producer, Fred Friendly made it their mission to exploit McCarthy and put a stop to his detrimental practice, whatever the cost was to their personal and professional reputations.

David Straithairn stars as Murrow, whose portrayal is excellent, well deserving of his Oscar nomination. George Clooney, who also directed and co-wrote, plays Friendly. The film also sports an excellent supporting cast, including, Tate Donovan, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr, and Frank Langella (who later was nominated for portraying another controversial political figure, President Richard Nixon).

Clooney is not only an excellent actor, he's an amazing director and filmmaker. The film is shot in black and white, very appropo for the era portrayed in the film. He often puts himself in small roles in his films, i.e., "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." The best part of the film is Straithairn's portrayal of Murrow. His performance is such that, as you watch it, you believe that he is the legendary journalist. However, he doesn't have a large scale of emotion. In fact, he can be, at times, monotone. But it's not boring, as you would expect it to be. He doesn't have to be euphoric in one scene, then melancholy in the next. Straithairn has very expressive eyes, and they portray what he's feeling when his words may not. This role was certainly made for him, and he's mesmorizing in it.

I highly recommend this film for anybody who enjoys a historical drama, or anyone who just likes a great film.

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