Genre: Drama, docudrama, politics, black and white
Director: George Clooney
DVD released: March 14, 2006
If anyone should have won an Oscar for George Clooney's quiet and thoughtful rendering of Edward R. Murrow vs. Joseph McCarthy in Good Night and Good Luck, it's David Strathairn, who, as Murrow, is more expressive sitting silently as smoke curls from the cigarette dangling between his fingers than many actors are in a movie's worth of dialogue. Television journalist Murrow took on the Communist witch-hunt of Sen. McCarthy, and the movie portrays the paranoia of the time and the behind-the-scenes turmoil at CBS news, all through an unending haze of cigarette smoke, lest we forget it's the '50s. While the crisp and attractive black-and-white images convey a sense that this is a world far removed from us in time, the movie illuminates how little, in some ways, things have changed: Murrow's speech about modern complacency that bookends the movie could be made today and no one would bat an eye, and the depiction of how big-money advertising can interfere with news fits modern times, as well. There's some dead weight in a subplot involving the romance of a couple of CBS staffers, though, and I was left with a feeling of "Is that it?" as the credits rolled.