October 12, 2005

Good night, and good luck

Tonight I saw Good night and good luck, the new George Clooney indy movie about Edward R. Murrow, at its midwestern premiere here in Galesburg. (Nice, eh?) It's pretty fabulous. I gather from reading a Wikipedia article that a few details have been shuffled around, and from a Slate review that the film makes a lot of things black and white that shouldn't have been.

I don't care. It's still fabulous.

I concur with the Slate editorial that the movie is tailored as a message to modern audiences as much as it is a historical depiction. Of course! This is clear from the opening few bars, where Murrow starts lecturing an audience about the demise of independent journalism and the importance of dissent. The movie, for all that it is basically historical, is an extended metaphor for the recent attempts to suppress dissent and label defenders of freedom as unpatriotic. It's not particularly apologetic about that.

And what a setting. The attention to detail is incredible; and real clips from the period are mixed with modern footage in a truly seamless way. As fancy CG techniques go, it's pretty unremarkable, but nevertheless highly effective. All footage of McCarthy himself is real and original---an excellent choice on Clooney's part, because any actor trying to replicate that would be accused of setting up a straw man. No, the junior senator from Wisconsin really was that much of a dick, and happy to just make stuff up if it would serve his purposes.

Sound familiar? But anyway.

A documentary this is not. But if that doesn't bother you, go see this movie when it comes out. It keeps you in suspense even though you know the ending. And it's a stark reminder that there is nothing new under the sun; those who ignore or do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" --Thomas Edison

Posted by blahedo at 10:56pm on 12 Oct 2005
Going to see this in Carbondale tonight. I'm really looking forward to it... Posted by Chris T. at 1:52pm on 4 Nov 2005
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