Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"We will not walk in fear, one of another..."

Mes Amis

Who'd'a thought that George Clooney would become one of my favourite Hollywood Stars, the man guaranteed to make me want to see a movie? After all he did Batman and Robin (oh, the pain!) and some godaweful piece of shite with Michelle Pfieffer. And I never did get into ER at all.

But then he did a little film called Out of Sight. And O Brother Where Art Thou? And suddenly George Clooney starts making brilliant films (we'll forget the Ocean's Eleven and Twelve films which were a misstep on the part of everyone involved if you ask me). He was recently invilved with the spectacular Syrrianna and now with Good Night and Good Luck, he steps up to the directing plate for the second time and creates a brilliant, poignant little movie about TV presenter Edward R Murrow's battle with Senator Joe McCarthy. Its a battle of ideals, of course. And as the film progresses you realise its not just a film about a bleak era in America that lies in the past, but about a bleak area in the Western world that exists today. Murrow states that TV is about distraction and entertainment. That there is nothing enlightening and that it serves merely to make us forget about the world. And he's right. As the film progresses and we see his expose on McCarthy getting the applause it deserves we slowly realise that for everything he won there was so much that was lost. Its a bittersweet little movie and incredibly poignant, serving as a lesson about our past and a sharp reminder of what we still haven't achieved today. We need someone like Murray now, more than ever: someone passionate and willing to step forward and take real chances.

Shot entirely in Black and White, mixing archive footage with the drama, Clooney's film feels authentic. David Strathairn as Murrow is engaging and intense. Robert Downey Jr, hiding a secret from the network where he works, is proving how great it is to see him on screen again after so long (following on from his brilliant performance in Kiss, Kiss, Bang Bang, he gets to show his range here with a subtle, nuanced and effective performance)... in fact the entire cast just work so well together that even when you see a famous face the recognition fades after a moment when they become their character completely.

Part of this is achieved by Clooney's documentary approach to the work. There are no music cues here. The only music comes to link together the passage of time and even then this is cleverly worked into the on screen action so that the music is unobtrusive to the reality of the piece (just watch it and you'll see what I mean). Adding even more to the reality of the piece is the fact that everyone plays it natural. There's a rage in this movie, a indignant fury at certain inequities in the world. But its all bubbling beneath the surface because this is how it happened. Clooney plays the film for real and if anything the only real rage comes from Murrow impassioned speech in 1958 that bookends this understated and powerful film.

Good Night, And Good Luck is a brilliant film with relevance to certain modern truths as well as a keen eye for bringing to life the history it portrays. And its further proof, if any were needed, that Clooney may just be one of the most passionate and intelligent people working in Hollywood today.

Au revoir


1 comment:

Sandra Ruttan said...

I have a problem with Clooney, though.

Everyone thinks he's so good-looking.