Originally Posted by fabfunk
...and half is archival footage, with so much time filled with crisp expository. Take out the husband-wife subplot, and there's very little stuff there....
What did you think the film was about ?
The husband and wife Downey Jnr and Clarkson portray are not only the human element to what could have been a clinical, professional/journalistic slanted piece but also denote the price in human terms of the stringent ethics that the times imposed - ethics which affected many facets of civilian life, not just media spokespersons or military personel. Their own little charade mirrors the very principles Murrow is fighting against in the larger political arena. It's vital subtext. Not to mention the scenes of them discussing the "confessions" (for want of a better word) they had to sign at the start gives voice to the very insidious practices the CBS suits were foisting upon its employees at the very same time they were tacitly standing behind the man blasting McCarthy's crusade out of the water on live television.
And the archival footage ? To cover charges of over-egging the pudding, it was a ballsy move to have McCarthy playing McCarthy - who would have believed what came out of him mouth to be genuine otherwise. Read Dev's great interview with Clooney and Heslov for more on that. You have no qualms about stock footage being used in documentary form, why not a fictitious film about documented facts ? That's an absurd criticism.
Little stuff there ? Are you serious ? This isn't Thirteen Days
. This is a small, personal story set against a greater ill. Go in thinking its a Michael Moore style expose, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's not even Peter Davis. Though it has much more of the perfunctory impact of Hearts & Minds
in it's skillful editing and juxtapositions.
There wasn't one second wasted here - from jokes about Friendly and Christmas to the carefully chosen torch songs to the Liberace interview to Ray Wise's stunningly tragic turn - that wasn't steeped in care and detail and simmering subtext about the perception of things, their true meanings and the hidden agendas of us all. You won't find a richer film, minute for minute, this year.