This is a fine example of a smaller film catching the attention of fairly big-name actors who forget about a big paycheck for a time and put all their acting talent into their performance. This is evident all across the board, not least of which is with the phenomenal David Straithairn as Murrow. He may be one of the lesser known actors to the wider audience out there but he outshines anyone with the last name of, say, Clooney or Downey Jr. I am not someone in the know about the events that this film recreates or indeed the people involved, but from what I can see, Strathairn not only plays his character but he becomes him. He is clearly very pleased to have gotten the chance to play the lead for once, and kudos for A-lister Clooney for wanting him to do so; he really gets into the nitty-gritty of the man, he gets right under his skin and convincingly portrays someone who was probably very hard to sum up. And people like Clooney, Downey Jr., and Patricia Clarkson, although important players in the overall picture, take the back seat and allow him to just do his thing.
I sense this is a movie that plays to the intellectual movie-goers out there rather than those after merely brainless entertainment. This is less about crashes, bangs, and wallops (in fact there’s an almost deliberate absence of anything remotely like that) and more about presenting an interesting point in history through in-depth conversations and the swapping of facts. Good Night, and Good Luck is an example of refined filmmaking that’s compelling from start to finish, presented in an eye-pleasing fashion and with pitch-perfect performances. And it is a pleasant reminder that movie stars aren’t all about the fat paychecks they so often receive.