With GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, George Clooney delivers a riveting account of a crucial chapter in 20th-century American history and, in the process, firmly establishes himself as a major force behind the camera as well.
The crisply paced, tautly scripted docudrama recounts the events of the mid-1950s leading up to acclaimed CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow's (David Strathairn) decision to stand up against fiery Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was out to rid the country of communism.
McCarthy's seemingly reckless behavior, in which he condemned individuals without giving them a fair trial, angered Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly (Clooney) into action.
The resulting few episodes of Murrow's show, SEE IT NOW, found Murrow on a personal, patriotic crusade to challenge McCarthy and rid America of his callous persecution.
Set almost entirely inside the smoke-filled, pressurized newsrooms at CBS, Clooney's assured picture moves at a breakneck pace. Cinematographer Robert Elswit miraculously recreates the black-and-white look of that era, giving the film an added air of legitimacy. And while Clooney and co-screenwriter/producer Grant Heslov wisely chose to use stock footage of McCarthy instead of finding an actor to fill his shoes, they couldn't have found a better Murrow than Strathairn, who delivers his lines with heroic conviction.
Clooney's stellar ensemble cast also includes Ray Wise, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels, and Frank Langella.