Saturday, September 02, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

I saw the movie a few days ago. I found it impressive. I'm old enough to remember the 1950s, and GNGL captured the look and sound convincingly. It also captured the fear of the McCarthy era, a truly scary period. David Straitharn was awesome as Edward R. Murrow, and Frank Langella was awesome as William S. Paley, the head of CBS. I thought the movie worked at every level -- the costumes, the sets, the camera work, the script, the pacing, the acting. It's interesting on its own, but it's especially interesting now, in a period when the mass media are utterly corrupt.

An evening later I saw The Hulk, a genuinely awful movie; and last night I saw Harry Potter IV.

Good Night and Good Luck was a minimalist movie -- a handful of actors in a handful of sets, not a single outdoor scene. (Wait. I remember one: people watching a t.v. in a store window. But all we saw was their faces and the window.) For the most part, we saw the characters in their work place, where they talked about work, not about emotions. The movie presents them as tightly controlled people, who are focused on getting a job done.

The Hulk and Harry IV were typical action flicks, full of color, motion, wide landscapes, lots of people, life and death conflicts and spectacular special effects. In the end, both were mostly empty, though Harry IV is staying with me more. I will forget The Hulk as quickly as possible.

Having said the mass media are entirely corrupt, I now remember that movies are part of the mass media. Maybe I should rephrase. The news is corrupt. Other, less serious and respected media products may or may not be true to life.

Whether or not I like the movies I see, I'm liking seeing movies. Next will come t.v. shows on DVD.


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