Release Date: October 7th, 2005 (NYC-Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square 14 ) by Warner Independent Pictures.
The Cast: David Strathairn, Robert Downey, Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Ray Wise, Frank Langela, Jeff Daniels, George Clooney.
Directed by George Clooney.
BASIC PREMISE: In 1953, Edward Murrow (Strathairn) uses his CBS show “See it Now” to battle Senator Joseph McCarthy.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This is a very provocative film that is rich in history as well as great performances. David Strathairn gives the best performance of his career as Edward Murrow. He really sinks into his role from start to finish. The first scene introduces him in 1958 during his honorary speech in which he recalls his experiences in CBS. What makes this film so compelling is that Murrow constantly rebels against the powerful force of McCarthyism simply by exercising his 1st Amendment rights for free speech. The cinematography is worth mentioning because it is all in black-and-white—a smart choice because it gives the images an authentic feel, as if the film was made in the 50’s. The set and costume design are also quite impressive. What also gives a realistic feel is the surprising use of real footage of McCarthy rather than an actor playing him. There is also an interesting subplot about two of his colleagues (Downey, Jr. and Clarkson) who are secretly married even though that it is against the rules of CBS to have married colleagues. George Clooney plays Murrow’s producer. The tension builds as McCarthy announces that anyone affiliated with communism in any way whatsoever is subject to be tried in the court of law. It is endlessly engaging to watch Murrow stand up to McCarthy despite that his producer’s boss threatens to put the show on a less popular time with fewer airings. The well-written script is surprisingly humorous at times, very sharp, filled with historical detail, but it is never boring even if you’re not a history buff or if you didn’t live during this era.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The issue of censorship was very big during the time period that this film is set, but it is still important today. Murrow is a role model for the kind of journalism that is honest and reliable without cutting corners. The American public has the right to know the truth and Murrow knows this. He deals with McCarthy’s vicious accusations with utmost confidence and even charisma. It is very inspiring to watch a man such as him stand firmly with his beliefs without blinking an eye. He is not ant-American like McCarthy claims, but rather a true American.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A compelling, well-shot film that sheds light on a very important time in American history. Strathairn gives the best performance of his career! Clooney has officially established himself as a very promising and talented director.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "G" Menu