Sunday, December 04, 2005

 

"Good Night and Good Luck" Review

Is “Good Night, and Good Luck” The Most Overrated Movie Yet?

Clooney’s Film Leaves Viewers Wondering Where The Entertainment Went


What were the majority of my fellow critics thinking when they individually gave this movie outstanding reviews? In my opinion, they were bias and this movie directly struck their own personal interests. As journalists who write for newspapers and websites, perhaps these critics felt a connection to the characters in this film and this helped them to rate this movie positively. It’s similar to a Civil War re-enactor giving a movie critique of “Gods and Generals”. As a movie watcher, this isn’t a review you would want to consider bearing in mind the author. Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post and a few other critics were the only ones with the courage and integrity to tell the truth about the overall quality of this movie.

Enough with my fellow colleagues, lets talk about the movie itself. Early on into the film, I noticed a group of five people getting up out of their seats to leave the movie and they never come back. Ironically, this would foreshadow how the general public would perceive this movie. In fairness to George Clooney who directed and co-wrote this movie, there were not any major flaws in the actual directing of the movie. There were however, as I will later indicate, several minor flaws. As one of two people who co-wrote this movie, the other being Grant Heslov, the character development was minimal. If was as if you were expected to know the characters and already have a background on them. Some may say that this shows Clooney’s inexperience as a director. For example, the relationship between the characters Shirley and Joe Wershba played by Patricia Clarkston and Robert Downey Jr. was rushed and underdeveloped. In order for viewers to care about a romantic relationship, they need to know about the couple separately and let the romance unveil under their eyes. This was not the case at all with “Good Night, and Good Luck.” The relationship came before the personification of the characters and in my opinion this really hurt the film.

Another key observation of this is, as the old saying goes, “There is such a thing as too much of a good thing,” and this could not be truer in describing the number of quality actors in this movie. From George Clooney himself to the overlooked Jeff Bridges, there was simply not enough time for their character’s roles to develop and grow. Each one of the characters did not have ample time for the audience to know and care about what happened to them in the film. There was a general feeling in the movie theatre that left viewers wondering, are we supposed to care about these characters? A good film intrigues viewers, making them feel like they have known the actors all their life or are at least able to relate to them during the movie. Unfortunately, the character development was not the only weakness in “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

The directing and cinematography of the film lacked the worthiness that many critics raved about. Not only was the movie slow, the entire thing was in black and white. I understand why the TV portions may have been in black and white as they were seen on televisions across the nation in the 1950's, but the people whom lived at that time didn't see in black and white. It may have worked for such classics as “Raging Bull” but not for this film. The black and white was just too cliché for “Good Night and Good Luck”.

The only really bright spot was the acting of David Strathairn, who plays Edward Murrow. Even with this, the character never revealed his personal life during the film and the audience was not able to become attached to Murrow. Because of this, viewers lost interest in his role and were unable to truly care if he got in trouble or not. Despite the fact that this was not an action movie, any viewer would expect for a film to kick into second gear speed at some point. I felt like during the length of the film, I was just waiting for something to happen. This anticipation was not the good kind that is suspenseful and keeps you wondering about what is going to happen next. It was the kind of wondering that left me thinking, isn’t anything entertaining going to happen?

The film certainly has good intentions; it tries – and succeeds, to a large extent – to draw parallels between the fear tactics employed by McCarthy and those, such as the so-called ‘Patriot’ Act, used by the Bush administration. But while the filmmaker should be praised for a story so relevant to our current times, we must remember that the film is still a film, and should be judged primarily on its merits as cinematic entertainment. And this film just doesn’t hold up. It’s too dry, and it takes itself a bit too seriously. It depends too heavily on understatement. The movie tries extremely hard to appeal to our minds and our intellects, and as a result it almost completely ignores and neglects the quality required of all great movies – an appeal to our hearts and our emotions. This movie will do nothing for those not intensely interested in politics. Even sports movies realize this: yes, they show thrilling and suspenseful sports games, but they also take the time to develop emotional stories and human relationships outside the realm of sports. They do this to appeal to the members of the audience who aren’t obsessed with sports. Clooney cares about the world, but he is dismissive of this part of the audience. Every relationship in the movie is intrinsically tied to the politics governing their professional circumstances.

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