Good Night, and Good Luck

Rated 3.0

Director George Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov recount the 1954 face-off between CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Senator Joseph McCarthy on Murrow’s show See It Now. Clooney’s approach is frankly hagiographic (reflected in Robert Elswit’s grainy black-and-white cinematography), with St. Edward single-handedly slaying the McCarthy dragon (in fact, the tide of public opinion had begun to turn well before Murrow piled on), and the movie misleadingly implies that Murrow was punished by losing his prime-time slot. Strathairn’s performance is uncanny, and the 1950s period detail is spot-on, but the nicest touch is having McCarthy play himself (in old newsreels and kinescopes), letting the Senator’s demagogic smarm condemn itself out of his own mouth—as, in fact, it did in real life.