Monday, December 12, 2005

 

GAL’S NIGHT OUT: Good Night, and Good Luck, she said 2.8


This film had the potential to echo the political undertones of the current state of the nation. Unfortunately director, George Clooney, fumbled the ball. The audience was left in anticipation for the proverbial political twisting of the knife that never came. Throughout the movie we follow CBS news anchor, Ed Murrow, played by David Straithairn and his associates were played by George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and many others. Murrow is the first anchor to openly question the action of Senator John McCarthy. The movie articulated the fears of the network to report on such issues and the Murrow and his staff’s desperation to get the story told.
Clooney at times was too ostentatious with the direction. There was little consistency with the direction from scene to scene. Let me clarify. I am not saying that the same fixed camera angle and camera moves indicate a good movie. On the contrary, I think variation is good as long as the director’s choice matched the tone of the scene. Clooney would use a handheld camera for one boardroom scene and then for the next scene in the boardroom use on a wide shot and then for the next intimate scene only use close ups. I understand that he wanted to add variation to a static studio environment. However, a director should rely on the actors to carry the drama and maintain the audiences’ attention. Rather that highlighting the action and the storyline, the direction distracted from the story. As stand alone scene the direction was phenomenal. There comes a time when there is too much effort put into the direction.

I was happy to see Robert Downey, Jr. in the movie. He truly is one of the best actors of our time. If he could just stay off the drugs people could actually see that. Too, his storyline with his wife seemed rather inconsequential. Why was the audience supposed to care about their secret love affair? Their relationship seemingly had no effect on the networks ability to put on the show. I did enjoy seeing him on the big screen again.

The whole movie lacked cohesion. I am willing to admit that perhaps I lack the intelligence to catch all the nuances of the film and that is why I did not enjoy the movie as much as I would have liked. However, I am going to say ‘nay’ to those who agree with that statment. Instead, I blame Clooney for the poor direction. There was never a moment when I questioned the believability of the actors. Everyone gave very strong and noteworthy performances. Clooney just got a little over zealous with the camera. I do think that this film is worth seeing because of the acting. However, if you want clarification of the happenings during the McCarthy Era – go read a book.

NOTE: in this post I made a sports reference AND did not quote Dane Cook.
Comments:
Interesting. I had no interest in seeing this movie for several reasons. First, I don't really like Clooney. Second, I read an Entertainment Weekly article where he was talking about the movie and its "meaning" and talk about conceited. It was clear to me that this movie was little more than a vanity project for him.

I do not pretend to know much about McCarthy, but I read some interesting articles around the time of the movies release questioning the accuracy and bias found in this movie. Interesting points were made and I wish that I could articulate them here. Alas, I cannot and I can't even find the article in mind right now.

Also, this movie seemed to be (and I base this on several interviews I saw/read with Clooney, et al and reviews) filled with Hollywood liberal propaganda. But really that is a different discussion that I don't want to go into.

Finally, I am interested in "political undertones of the current state of the nation" you were expecting to see echoed in this movie?

One more thing, what did you think about the use of black and white?

I am glad that you finally got to see this since you wanted to see it so bad, but I am glad I didn't have to sit through it.
 
With the whole undertone - I was referring mostly to the patriot act and fear that out civil liberties are being intruded upon. However, that is something more for shan's blog and not a movie blog.

I really enjoyed black and white films. The choice, though a good one, is in accordance with your "vanity project" statement.

I was glad that I got to see the movie but I don't think I will be watching the movie again any time in the near future.
 
Okay, I wasn't thinking about the Patriot Act, but that totally makes sense now. I still have that article. You should read it. I was shocked by how arrogant Clooney was. I had finally gotten to where I sort of liked him, but after that-no way! He is just one of those actors I've never been able to really enjoy (like you with Jennifer Garner).
 
I really liked this movie a lot. It had lean storytelling and great acting. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I don't recall dramatic shifts in the directing style from scene to scene. It's possible that the variation in angles or movement has more to do with the level or type of emotion in a scene and not where it takes place.

The black and white photography was beautiful, and helps the movie take on a more period feel and blend with the archival footage of McCarthy himself.

Clooney definitely has a viewpoint, and this movie is his arguement for that viewpoint — I didn't feel he was shoving anything down our throats though.

My problem with the movie is the end, which didn't drive home the impact Murrow had. Like, the movie was built up as Murrow taking down McCarthy, and by the end we feel like he took a swipe at McCarthy but didn't take him down fully... I don't know if I can articulate it well. I still liked the movie.

The secret marriage was an illustration of McCarthyism and the paranoia of the time period. When I first watched the movie, I wondered if maybe they were commies, because of they clearly had a secret they were nervous about and not sharing... It was just a marriage in the end, but it kind of demonstrated how easy it is to make assumtions.
 
I agree with jason that I didn't feel like there was not a dramatic political slant to the movie. Too, I did not think of the marriage that way - good call. I still think they could have done more with that.

I agree with the great acting but the storytelling itself was rather weak.
 
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