Good Night, and Good Luck

Director's Influence on Good Night, and Good Luck

In director George Clooney's second outing behind the camera, Good Night, and Good Luck, he demonstrates a simple yet deft touch. Clooney often uses "push in" and "push out" camera movement in order to expand upon or enhance the emotions of a particular scene. For example, when we first see Murrow at his typewriter, Clooney pulls the shot out to create the feeling of the story spreading out and to show Murrow as a solitary figure in the newsroom. And when he zooms in on Murrow giving his closing speech on McCarthy, it enhances the internal and very personal nature of the story for Murrow. Indeed, the movement of Clooney's camera often mirrors the emotional stakes for the characters involved, whether it is heightening tension or showing the searching quality of a journalistic assignment.

Another notable element of Clooney's direction is his decision to use black and white photography. By converting the color stock to black and white Clooney shows that the story is a complex one, with a huge moral and intellectual gray area. Murrow's strength as a journalist is his ability to pull out the rational and important details of each story he covers, to bring clarity to "grayer" issues. The black and white footage highlights this facet of Murrow's work.

Clooney also integrates real footage from HUAC trials into the film. This gives an extra weight to the themes of the film. By showing actual events as they happened, Clooney brings a gravity to the news story, and connects the viewer to the historical context and stakes of the issue. Clooney uses simplicity to his advantage by not overshooting this film or over-staging it. He told a complicated story simply. The simplicity pays off and the story shines through clearly.