Good Night, and Good Luck Review

Whenever George Clooney finally directs a film worth engaging with, peace will be brought to Earth. Across the globe, people will lay down their rifles, flock to cinemas and finally see what Clooney has been trying to say for the best part of a decade. “Buy my coffee pods”, his words of wisdom echo through the speakers and the crowd nod in agreement. Good Night, and Good Luck is the closest Clooney will ever come to fulfilling his fleeting, failing desire to direct something of note or merit. Far exceeding the quality found later in his career, but even then, not amounting to anything more than passionless mediocrity, the star-studded cast and filmmaking techniques employed throughout this mid-2000s piece is extraordinarily muted and tired. 

Perhaps the leading issue is the style and composition of Clooney’s direction. Camera angles that feel grounded, often looking up to the characters featured throughout. It creates an odd dichotomy. Are these characters worth looking up to? Not particularly. They aren’t paired with articles of positivity or justice, nor are they wholly clean of sin or villainy. What follows is abrasive negligence toward consistent, albeit overused directing choices. By trying to do away with the stock, reliable yet cliché stylings, Clooney feels as if he is tirelessly attempting to reinvent the wheel, but has nothing new to show for his efforts.  

Empty and shallow the directing efforts may be, it is reassuring that Clooney can provide leading actors the strength and style needed to make their mark. David Strathairn is solid as Edward R. Murrow, capturing the quick-witted, Camel-smoking journalist in all his assumed glory. Jeff Daniels and Tate Donovan are utilised somewhat well, and the inevitable supporting role from the director reaps results that are of minimal effect and use. A stacked cast does not, unfortunately, equal the success that Clooney half-heartedly aims for. He conducts his directing in a business-like fashion, a fine sentiment to hold if putting together a microwave or bicycle, but not when trying to express artistic prose. 

Forgettable and sadly aimless, Good Night, and Good Luck needs to weigh in on its themes more than it does here. Murrow and his fight against the anti-communist witch hunt does not come across as a genuine, thought-provoking piece. Not because this tale has no interest to it, but because the adaptation is so bland. Black and white filmmaking can only carry the burden of boredom so far, and for Clooney, it is simply not far enough. Strathairn may be solid in his leading role, but it is hard to pool anything of real meaning or interest from him when this adaptation simply doesn’t have what it takes to expand or explain its motive for existing. It is a product that lives solely to relay an inevitable adaptation of events of moderate interest. 

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