Saturday, October 22, 2005

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING: George Clooney's Good Night, And Good Luck is, among many things, a cautionary tale about the dangers of nicotine addiction. There is a serious amount of cigarette usage in this movie, and if one took a swig of scotch every time a puff was taken on-screen, one would be seriously drunk by the end.

The movie makes incredibly effective usage of the original kinescopes of Edward R. Murrow and Sen. McCarthy. David Strathairn makes for an excellent Murrow, and Clooney sets the mood well with the black and white photography.

But beyond that . . . there's not much of a story. I just wasn't gripped by the movie dramatically, and didn't feel any of the intra-CBS tensions with Paley, Friendly and Murrow.

Maybe it's just because that story, of the conflict between journalistic integrity and the needs of a corporate-run media, was told so much better in Michael Mann's The Insider, which still stands for me as one of the most underappreciated films of the past decade (and I say this despite the fact that it was nominated for seven Academy Awards).

Good Night isn't an actively bad movie, and may be worth seeing just for the historic footage. It's just not the great movie it could have been.

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