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Good Night, and Good Luck.

We will not walk in fear of one another.  

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Good Night, and Good Luck.

Director: George Clooney

Starring: David Strathairn, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson

At the beginning of Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney’s second foray into directing after the stylish bravura of his vastly underrated debut with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, television journalist Edward R. Murrow takes to the podium to accept an award. Instead, as is the fashion of late, of gushingly thanking everyone from his primary school teacher to his manicurist he delivers a damning indictment of what television is in danger of becoming. The year is 1959, by 2006 Murrow’s worst fears have been dramatically realised. Clooney’s message is by no means subtle, nor should it be when it is so dearly needed.

The film tells the true story of Murrow’s high profile on air clash with the Witchfinder General of 50s America, Senator Joe McCarthy. Portrayed by anybody else, even word for word, McCarthy would have come across as a parody; a clumsy caricature of propaganda and scaremongering. But in using archive footage of the man himself, Clooney presents the grim reality that one person with an opinion can turn a nation against itself. In Murrow, however, he has a knight with which to battle the dragon, and Strathairn’s intense, compelling performance gives a reminder of how effective television can be when its presenters embrace the responsibility of their role.

Good Night, and Good Luck is not a lecture in disguise, it is a cleverly written, tautly structured and stylishly made tale which never overreaches its grasp. Clooney is fast becoming Hollywood’s hottest property, and possibly its last great hope. It will be interesting to note, if he deservedly wins any awards for this film, who George Clooney thanks, and who he warns. With Good Night, and Good Luck he has established himself as a man on a mission, and it is time we sat up and took notice.

Peter Lefort

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Summer Term (35mm)