Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Goodnight and Good luck: A wake up call for America
I don’t do politics. Sometimes, though, films do and then I follow them up. George Clooney, the charming ex-doctor of the ER made a thinking film proving he is more than a pretty face.
The film refers to the dark era of McCarthy. The senator has started his crusade against the communists spreading fear and a feeling of oppression to the whole America. A tv journalist decides to make a stand against him and prove that his politics go against human rights and demolish freedom of speech. The film ends with a critique of the way the press works in contemporary America. In this film individual characters do not matter as much as the description of the atmosphere of the era and the political circumstances. We rarely follow the reporters after work at home and we know little of their personal lives and characters. The film presents the studio as their natural environment and seeks to describe all the careful maneuvers they have to execute in order to be able to do show on the senator McCarthy and escape with their hides. The film is a collection of episodes bond together by singing numbers. The structure therefore resembles a documentary and not fiction.
George Clooney kept for himself the second role no the leading one and that is much in favor of him. He is the quite supportive helper of the main journalist. His role gave them the opportunity to be present on the most of the scenes but to go unnoticed. All actors did their work well. Critical was Clooney’s to keep the film black and white. It adds to it a realistic tone and represents even better the aesthetic of the era. Moreover in this way the documentary material, the interviews and the newsreel of the times blend much better in this way.
Clooney has managed to create an acute comment on the politics of today. He hints that the USA government uses the justification of the war against Terrorism for ignoring human rights and exerting over control on its citizens. McCarthy exploited Americas’ and the rest of the world’s fear of communism to demolish the basic right and values of democracy. In the McCarthy era though, there were journalists and studios that had the guts to stand against this. Clooney’s film concludes that today the media is so corrupted by big companies economic interests that choose to go along with the official politics and cover up the truth.