Have I seen the best movie of 2005? Perhaps. Tonight, the Mrs. and I treated ourselves to a couple of burgers, braced ourselves against the bitter cold of a low 50′s Southern California night, braved the yuppie wasteland of The Commons, dodged herds of Jr High girls dressed like Ugg wearing street whores and caught the 7:30 showing of Good Night, and Good Luck.
I am a George Clooney fanboy. From his authority bucking, caesar-cut sporting, Juliana Margulies-schtooping Dr. Ross, to his khaki sporting, world saving, Nicole Kidman-schtooping stud in The Peacemaker, to helping men who have Dapper Dan hair and ZZTop beards look sexy in O Brother, Where Are Thou, I think he’s just super. Heck, I even think that in an alternate universe, in which we had never, ever heard the term, “bat nipples,” he would have made a dynamite Bruce Wayne. Please don’t get me started on how much I love Ocean’s 11, but I’ll just say for the record… “All red….”
George has outdone himself this time, however, directing, co-writing, and starring in a film about Edward R. Murrow’s public battle with one Senator Joseph McCarthy in the mid 1950′s. The film is simply beautiful to watch. Clooney shoots in glorious black and white, bathing his lead characters in endless plumes of cigarette smoke. While it may be bad for the lungs, it’s certainly good for atmosphere.
The script manages to be both dense and minimalist at the same time. We are spared extraneous sub plots and treated instead to an inside look at the CBS newsroom as a team decides to take on a corrupt and out of control politician. I’ll end my traditional “review” there as you can find plenty of people raving about it over at Rotten Tomatoes.
This is the smartest film I have seen in a long time. It’s a movie both filled with and about great content. Subversive irony lovingly undergirds this story. Our heroes crusade for justice and truth inbetween ads extolling the virtues of Kent cigarettes. Murrow does a hilarious interview with Liberace at one point, asking him, “Are you ready to settle down with a nice young lady?” They wisely avoid making McCarthy a caricature, choosing instead to let the man speak for himself, using news footage. Clooney lets the viewed linger for long periods of time on this man, allowing us to see him with our own eyes.
I am all ready to geek out over Narnia and King Kong if they’re geekworthy, but this is not a film to miss.