Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

The director catches fire, quickly. In what it a series of smart decisions made one right after the other, Clooney gathers a remarkable cast of actors -- David Strathairn, the best smoker in the world, Ray Wise, exuding his usual air of world-weary tragedy, and Jeff Daniels, beginning a new chapter of his career of playing characters who stand in front of a lectern and tell you not to do things -- and crams them into tight office spaces and films them with a telephoto lens. It's a slam-dunk marriage to the material itself, immortal by virtue of the very human desire to micromanage civilization. There will always be a McCarthy.
Much of the driving suspense is in what we don't see, the enclosing circle of mass hysteria and the threat of a powerful government swinging its sword with no restraint. The intensity of the first broadcast unfortunately means that the rest of the film can't really measure up. We brush past many months of turn-based combat through televisions and satisfy a subplot that feels more like filler than an example of the witch hunt's body count, stealing money and time away from our star newsman. The film's engine slows to a stop.

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