review by Neo

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Ideal journalism or merely reporting one’s truth…
George Clooney is one of the most talented directors in Hollywood history. After the extraordinary witty Confession of a Dangerous Mind, Clooney is fast becoming an Oscar winning director. His budgets are low, and in a way it helps, as his movies, providing him with plenty of control and without the infamous Hollywood intervention. The issue of idealistic journalism is never expressed so prominently by a Hollywood flick. It is a brave film, with an utterly impacting performance of Edward Murrow played by a mirroring personality of David Strathairn. It is a movie that goes right to the heart of the audience, expressing the words of freedom and right to know the truth. Truth is an interesting issue of concern, as it can never be truly and objectively achieved. Everyone in the world today is shaped by a variety of factors and it is what determined of who we are today. Murrow did not state that he is reporting the absolute as it is a seemingly impossible to do so. Merely he is presently what he thinks is the truth behind the events of the McCarthy era. He was brave enough to stand against the government and in turn portraying the lost art of true journalism and ideals that one strive to achieve. It is an extraordinary film about a past event that is still so relevant today. Learning about history attempts to educate people about mistakes of the past, but as we all know, it is human nature to repeat the same mistake over and over again.

It is the 1950s, with McCarthy in full flight accusing everyone who is against him as a communist. It is without any doubt that his lines parallels with a little person called Bush who once claimed – “you are either with me or against me”. From witch-hunt era to the McCarthy and to the 21st century Bush remarks, it is safe to say that history do repeat itself. It takes more than just a brave soul to stand up against the government at time when everyone is instated in fear of a particular event or situation. It was the fear of communism that McCarthy exploitation to his own advantage. Media plays a huge role in society and it is all the more depressing to realize how TV mediums have become a sort of mindless entertainment rather than pursuing for ideal journalism. Perhaps, the world of Chris Masters is impossible, but what Murrow did was real and his voice turned into realization and finally the dismay of McCarthy. As someone who is doesn’t give a shit about politics, this is a strong film and exposes the courage and downfall of human nature.

Among the layers of inner flame within Neo is the underlying burning passion of one day embracing and pursuing the art of journalism. While, Neo is no where near that point, and will never be a Murrow, there is no denying that everyone of the journalist in the world today aims and strive to present the truth, but then again, aiming and pursuing is two entirely different paths. Filmed in colour and later edited into the contrast of black and white, Clooney smartly blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction. In use of McCarthy actual footage, it certainly causes more realism and credibility into Clooney’s work. There are some scenes of McCarthy that seems more like real acting than actual footage as he unintentionally overacts constantly to the point of humor.

Clooney did a great job in casting a mirroring role for Murrow with David Strathairn and his performance is worthy of critical acclamation. The manner of his speeches and the way he spoke on TV portrayed Murrow as a people’s hero. It is also full credit to Clooney who plays Fred Friendly with the style and passion of a true reporting hero.

All in all, Good Night and Good Luck is an important piece of US cinema and the implications of the movie are deep and convincing. The speeches are well made and at times to the point of winning the audience’s heart. As someone used to quote – “the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.” It is true that pursuing the true is difficult, but giving up and not making an attempt is like losing the fundamental rights of humanity. Wars were fought for freedom, so what makes journalism different? Clooney have created wonders here and provided the audience with something to cheer about, but why are we cheering when the current state of the media is getting more and more commercialized. It is a shame that it is innate human quantities to fear of those in power and the ones in power attempts to manipulate this fear. Perhaps, Lord Action was right – “power tend to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A powerful quote and a powerful film, but no matter what is happening in the world right now, there is always hopes. Hope is what keep everyone standing and waking everyday and so before signing off, Neo feels like saying something – Good Night, and Good Luck…

I rate it 9/10.

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Director: George Clooney
Starring: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Ray Wise, Frank Langella, Robert Downey Jr.
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), April 2007