Tickets were completely sold out for the concert, so I decided to see something else - the movie Goodnight and Good Luck, which has recently opened here. Despite what some people have told me, movies aren't as expensive, and even less so for matinees.
Goodnight and Good Luck. Easily one of the better films of 2005. Set in early 1954, a group of reporters at CBS become increasingly disturbed by the tactics that Senator Joseph McCarthy has been using to try and find suspected communists. They start by running a story on an Air Force officer who was kicked out of the service because his father had attended a suspected meeting, and he refused to disavow his father and two sibblings. The story was met with sucess, and the team moved on to the bigger fish, the senator himself, starting a short battle with him. A few blows were exchanged, and shortly thereafter, the Army began hearings into Sen. McCarthy's actions, which brought about his downfall.
Beyond the story, which was directed by George Clooney, there are two smaller side stories that added to the paranoia and tensions of the period. I thought that they worked well, although they didn't add very much to the overall story, beyond that.
Clooney is an absolute master at the camera and story with this. The camera works frantically at times, moving from person to person in the moment, or takes on the role of a news camera when needed. In addition, the choice to present this film in black, white and grey was absolutely brilliance, as it really brings the viewer right to the era and does not let go for a second. The dress, mannerisms and sound all contributed to this leading to a stellar period film, if that is the right term for a film so recent in history.
The movie is slow, to be sure, but extremely deliberate, and moves with purpose. Intercut, very interestingly, is the soundtrack, which is performed at intervels by a studio band in the movie, with a stunning jazz soundtrack. That's at the top of my list to get.
As far as acting goes, each and every role has been superbly done. While I'm fond of Clooney, I'm very glad that he didn't take the lead role because nobody could have carried this movie as well as David Strathairn did. He takes on this role in an amazing way, and simply could not have been done any better. Clooney and the rest of the supporting cast do just as well with their roles, and it will be a huge shame if this movie recieves few awards for the actor's performances.
One of the aspects of the movie that has largely been overlooked was the role of the media and the world, highlighted in the beginning and end of the movie with a speech by Murrow. It's almost word for word from a speech that the real Murrow did, and in it, he warns that the media will become a force that will only entertain and amuse the nation, and will no longer be the force that it was then. I think that he's got a number of very good points there, and I'm going to do some more research into him and that speech. The media has essentially become a force that entertains and amuses the nation, while it does educate and enlighten us as well, although I don't believe that it will ever go back to the same standard that was upheld then.
The movie takes political sides, but makes a clear case for loving one's country and agreeing with it, and is best summed up with Morrow's line: "We must not confuse descent from disloyalty.", which is an extremely important, and in today's world, relevant. While the characters and movie takes sides with this, no one is denying that communism was not a threat. It was the methods that were used to uncover it, no matter what the results, it wasn't right, a point that a number of low ranking reviews point out. It's not about uncovering communism. It's about taking a stand when one person is able to push people and their rights into a corner. And in this, the movie succeeds brilliantly.
So with that, goodnight, and good luck.