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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
George Clooney
David Strathairn
Patricia Clarkson
Robert Downey Jr.
Ray Wise
Jeff Daniels
Frank Langella.
Directors
George Clooney.
Screenwriters
George Clooney
Grant Heslov.
Running Time
93 minutes

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Good Night, And Good Luck
Oscar-nominated film from George Clooney.


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Plot
America, 1953. Planning their CBS news show See It Now, hack Ed Murrow (Strathairn) and producer Fred Friendly (Clooney) hit on a combustible story: the sacking of a “Commie” Navy pilot without trial or justification. With pitbull tenacity, Murrow and co. put reputation, network and lives on the line as they collide with the formidable Senator McCarthy, head of the toxic House Of Un-American Activities...


Review
Good Night, And Good Luck
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You can take the man out of TV, but you can’t take the TV out of the man. Granted, we’re all children of the gogglebox, but in the case of George Clooney, the holding glare of the tube shines stronger than most. Clooney’s dad, Nick, was a news anchor for some 30 years; George was five when he wobbled onto his first studio floor. Even before E. R., there was a strong cathode content fizzing in those genes.

Clooney’s directorial debut, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, was a gregarious if over-styled assault on trash TV. This, his second shout through the megaphone, recreates a key moment from the medium’s golden era — journalist Ed Murrow’s dogged pursuit of witchfinder general, Joseph McCarthy. Curiously, both movies make the same point: that TV has a duty beyond its zombifying power to distract, delude and isolate. Otherwise, there’s no comparison. By any director’s standards, this is superior filmmaking.

Employing a monochrome palette that’s heavy on the shadows and evocative jazz interludes that act as both mood barometer and Greek chorus, the movie’s sense of a nation reduced to a sustained paranoid twitch is artfully realised. Period films often fall for the trappings of sentiment and nostalgia — not here. Clooney plays out the drama with a very modern urgency, bottling the buzz of an under-siege ’50s newsroom through quickfire improvologue before settling into a deep-pressured slow-burn. The principal action takes place in a darkened TV studio lit like a bunker, and for good reason: this is, after all, war.

Murrow clearly liked a good fight — during World War II, he risked his neck reporting from the rooftops in the thick of London’s Blitz. Still, his war of words with McCarthy took true nerve, because he had more to lose than just his life.
In a climate where freedom of speech was killed by fear, if McCarthy targeted you as a “Red”, “Commie” or even a socialist, it was instant guilt by association. It wasn’t just you who was sunk — it was your colleagues, your friends, your family (rather than face allegations, one character here sees suicide as the only available option).

Which leads us to the movie’s most gripping moments: the screened showdowns between Murrow and McCarthy. Murrow — a deadpan, enigmatic Strathairn — calls for tolerance and candour. McCarthy, typically, settles for insults, tarring Murrow “the cleverest of the jackal pack”. Well, better a jackal than a Neanderthal. Tempting as it must have been to cast a McCarthy, the decision to go with archive footage is an excellent one. Not only does it lend a documentary edge to proceedings, it also exposes the hectoring senator for what he was: a ham, a bully, a coward and a thug. History’s already judged him and, figuring history has a nasty habit of repeating itself, Clooney condemns him all over again. Given that a certain George W. has inherited that not-so-great US tradition of passing the buck (a McCarthy speciality), you’d be hard-pressed to call Good Night’s concerns redundant.

The film isn’t without its bumps. This is a microcosm-of-a-moment movie, and character development simply doesn’t come with the territory. Strathairn withstanding, the support feels script-sketched, if not reduced to thematic ciphers (Downey Jr. and Clarkson’s clandestine marriage is used solely to reflect the era’s aura of nervy secrecy). They get your respect alright; just don’t expect any emotional air-punching. Then again, it’s apparent Clooney doesn’t want to leave you with that cosy Ron Howard feeling. He wants to leave you stimulated, talkative and, perhaps, a little combative about the current state of our corporate-badged media. A second viewing certainly promises further rewards.


Extras

Good Night, And Good Luck Good Night, And Good Luck
Released: 26 June 2006
Commentary:
The superior commentary by Clooney and co-writer/producer Grant Heslov is full of banter, as well as interesting technical titbits, broad cinematic references and intelligent insights.
Featurette:
A 15-minute featurette on the legacy of Murrow via interviews with Clooney, colleagues and family of Murrow and Friendly, and Milo Radulovich, the US Air Force Lieutenant whose illegal discharge in 1953 ignited Murrow’s on-air battle with Senator Joe McCarthy.
Plus:
A photogallery and trailer.


Verdict
Provocative, principled and richly detailed, this is compelling stuff. Emotionally it’s a little dry, but as brain-food, it’s absolutely invigorating. George done good.


Reviewed by Simon Crook


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Average user rating for Good Night, And Good Luck
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Good Night And Good Luck Movie Review

Good Night, And Good Luck. looks at the early years of television and journalism principles; specifically the on-air clash in the 1950's between Edward R. Murrow of CBS and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. With an outstanding cast, including McCarthy himself through archival footage, this film comes alive with intense emotion while depicting the historical See It Now shows and journalism integrity. Sen. Joseph McCarthy abused his position of power when he claimed many U.S. citizens we... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dbin78 at 01:13, 12 September 2009 | Report This Post


great director clooney is turning out to be ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:57, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


great director clooney is turning out to be ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:57, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


Clooeny is king

Beautifully shot and urgently atmospheric, Clooney's sophomore effort is a piece of uber-stylish modern noir that goes for the minds of its audience and marks him out as one of Hollywood's truly special talents. Short on principal plot, it instead plumps for a simple conceit set against an all too frightening and contemporary backdrop. Indeed, the restraint on show here, considering that one of Tinseltown's major A-list players is at the helm, is quite remarkable. In one scene Clooney, aft... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Eomer_King at 18:32, 03 March 2007 | Report This Post


A great acted film which is somewhat distant and difficult to get into. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 16:01, 07 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

Caught up with this film eventually. A very good film, intelligent, strikingly directed and with a subject matter relevant to today's society even if it occurred 50 years ago. In this age of effects driven blockbusters, it a refreshing reminder to see that words can be just as (if not more) gripping as action.This is an intellectually stimulating film featuring long articulate monologues which could potentially be a turn off for some.  Fortunately however, many o... More

Posted by MOTH at 09:33, 07 June 2006 | Report This Post


Proof, if any more was needed, that the Oscars still favour heart over brains and balls, the gross injustice of GNAGL being subsumed by the glory wagons of Crash and Brokeback Mountain shows just how stunted Hollywood mentality is. Movies that tell us how awful racism is and how sweet gays can be? Oh, give them five stars and award them with trophies! An intelligent treatise on the importance of civil liberties, freedom and the insidious nature of broadcasting? Oooh, that's too close to home, le... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dunner05 at 16:56, 22 May 2006 | Report This Post


Good Job George

I've always been interested by this part of American history and George Clooney brings it to life in a beautifully shot, brilliantly acted and very detailed film. It was good to see the very underrated David Strathairn get the respect he deserves. It was a brave choice to choose him for the lead but one that pays off. A film that gets better and better with repeat viewings. Good Job George, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PaulJohn at 01:17, 01 May 2006 | Report This Post


Black and white and red all over

It begins as a whisper, faint and distant in the beginnings of recorded history. Hammurabi’s code of laws promulgates the first known examples of civil rights. It’s example is followed, echoes in the clattering of stones cast by voters at the Acropolis in Athens , in the heated exchanges on the Palatine Hill in pre-Imperial Rome . The cause of liberty is voiced by nobles, by thinkers and churchmen. The Magna Carta becomes a cornerstone of the freedoms of the English speaking world, a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cuzglc at 08:40, 09 April 2006 | Report This Post


Black and white and red all over

It begins as a whisper, faint and distant in the beginnings of recorded history. Hammurabi’s code of laws promulgates the first known examples of civil rights. It’s example is followed, echoes in the clattering of stones cast by voters at the Acropolis in Athens , in the heated exchanges on the Palatine Hill in pre-Imperial Rome . The cause of liberty is voiced by nobles, by thinkers and churchmen. The Magna Carta becomes a cornerstone of the freedoms of the English speaking world, a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cuzglc at 08:40, 09 April 2006 | Report This Post


Clooney

I won'y go too much into the film itself. as anything I will say would have definately been said before, it is very very very good. the only thing that was missing is delving more into the Charachters, showing us their backgrounds, showing us a bit more of that era, the way if life, how people are affected by the witch hunt, etc, etc...it felt a bit one dimentional, more like a theater piece, maybe that was the intention, but for a film like this, I feel viewers need a bit of a breather. david S... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 22:08, 15 March 2006 | Report This Post


good night and good luck

had to go and see this as i have always been interested in the subject matter ,american paranio in the post 2nd world war era.george clooney deserves all the praise hes getting right now.david strathairn is excellent and great support is provided by clooney,clarkson,downey jr,and nice to see frank langella getting a role to bite into (pun intended). ... More

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Posted by andrew peat at 20:37, 13 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: VERY GOOD

Brilliant film. I now feel I know that much more about a subject I knew very little about. The film looks beautiful, the scruipts is engaging and enthralling and the cast is superb, but David Strathairn is a strandout. I couldn't take my eyes off him when he was onscreen. He really does give the impression of a man who is taking on something very big, and is fully aware of what may happen.   The only parts I wasn't keen on were the shots of the singer (as someone else has mentioned) Ho... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gimli The Dwarf at 04:38, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post


VERY GOOD

SUPERBLY MADE MOVIE. (ONE OF BEST OF 2005) THIS MOVIE.CAPTURED THAT 50' FEEL. & WELL ACTED BY THE CAST'S ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by soulfood at 21:42, 10 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Goodnight, And Good Luck

L: Mason Verger If Clooney makes a film about David Frost, will he call it "Hello, Good Evening And Welcome"? ote] er than your Proposition 'orange' joke. ... More

Posted by Peter Griffin at 14:47, 10 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Goodnight, And Good Luck

If Clooney makes a film about David Frost, will he call it "Hello, Good Evening And Welcome"? ... More

Posted by Mason Verger at 14:43, 10 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Goodnight, And Good Luck

The first disapointment of the year so far and the worst for me of all the films nominated for the major oscars. Interesting subject matter no doubt but it was the handling of it, though not exactly bad, that didnt grip me. I found myself feeling like I was sitting in a history lesson at school. Personally the documentary footage didnt work for me and helped add to the films static atmosphere.   There were plenty of good actors in the film but unfortunately most of them were wast... More

Posted by MartinBlank76 at 10:48, 08 March 2006 | Report This Post


A little too wordy

I'm ashamed to say that I fell asleep (for about two minutes) during this film. It's beautifully shot and acted, but I thought it was dull. Sorry to all those who loved it. I'm not one to shy away from worthy films, but I just felt that this one had lots of words but no message. The original footage tended to be too long, slowing the pace of the film, and I didn't really get any sense of an overall story arc. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by katerpillar at 16:12, 07 March 2006 | Report This Post


Good night, and good luck

Good night, and good luck is an entertaining film. It is fabulous and contains such a an atmosphere that was far away from tense, but not exiting. It was a film where you wanted to see what happened to these men. It is a stunning film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tomhemingwaycom at 10:43, 05 March 2006 | Report This Post


What's all the Fuss???

I have felt during the award season that Clooney has been exaggerated to appease and market film and Hollywood film to bring back the 'punters'. Saw this at Santa Barbara and I was bored stiff for the majority. David Strathairn was good granted but the way the film moved was dull and not at all engaging. By the end of the film I couldn't care less about the historic meaning of those characters. The cinematography was arguably great for the film but the direction did nothing un-ordinary and could... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by king_rmd at 10:37, 05 March 2006 | Report This Post


Clooney's on a roll...

What with this and Syriana, he wants to make himself heard and he does so very well. Strathairn is excellent. Loved it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by VincentHanna at 14:51, 04 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent

Having seen 3 of the 5 Best Picture nominees at this year's Oscars, and being impressed with all of them, I had high expectations for another nominee - Good Night, and Good Luck, but I'm afraid it did not turn out to be as special as I'd hoped, one word to sum it up? Underwhelming...   I felt that this was a film with a lot of potential, the story opened up a lot of interesting possibilites, but it was so abbreviated, it was definitely too short for my liking, I would have li... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Million Dollar Bill at 23:26, 03 March 2006 | Report This Post


Excellent

Only 4 stars from the Empire reviewer? Find him, take him out to a clearing in the woods and shoot him! Great, great acting; well paced direction; beatifully edited; and finely lit camera work. What more can be asked for? Up there with Downfall and Crash as the best films of the past year. See it!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by timbailey60 at 19:04, 02 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Superbly filmed and superbly acted

I though that 'Goodnight, And Good Luck' was brilliant. I'd love to see Strathairn win the Oscar for his performance as Edward Murrow. He made me sit up and pay attention to every word he said. I felt that the film captured the 50's perfectly, from the in-house band right down to being able to see Clooney's vest under his shirt. I absolutely agree that the message encapsulated in the film has a lot of resonance in today's society that's bogged down with television that's made purely as a form o... More

Posted by Kaospilot at 11:37, 02 March 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Superbly filmed and superbly acted

L: forbidden_planet An interesting film. Not sure whether to rave or not though. I found it very 'wordy' and couldn't keep up with the story line half the time even though I'm quite educated on political matters. To look at the film is beautiful and using black and white only added to the atmosphere set i.e. the continul smoke clouds and heavy shadows. The acting was as to be expected superb and I've no problem there, I just left feeling a bit disappointed, probaly because I found it was t... More

Posted by Peter Griffin at 10:51, 02 March 2006 | Report This Post


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