‘Good Night, and Good Luck.’ – Why journalism matters on Netflix

David Strathairn plays broadcast journalism godfather Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005, PG), George Clooney’s austere, astounding drama about his career-threatening decision to use the airwaves to take on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1953.

Directing in a stripped down style, Clooney’s direction captures the personality of the group of newsmen at work and Murrow’s aloof, quietly intense persona with a cinematic precision that whittles away everything that is inessential to the drama at hand. Strathairn is almost an enigma as Murrow, who stands aloof and apart from the camaraderie of the newsroom, but his body language informs his passion and his steadfast belief in the responsibility of journalism to act with a conscience. The debate of commerce versus civic responsibility in the business of news is as timely as are the attack on civil liberties and constitutional rights that rouses Murrow to action.

George Clooney costars as producer Fred Friendly, Frank Langella is network president William Paley and Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Ray Wise, Jeff Daniels and Grant Heslov costar. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including a best actor nod for David Strathairn (the only nomination for this undervalued actor), original screenplay, director, and best picture.

Rated PG, in black and white

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Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Fandango, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Good Night and Good Luck [Blu-ray]
Good Night, and Good Luck [DVD]

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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