Another Halloween has passed. If you enjoy being really scared - not supernaturally scared, but intellectually scared - see "Good Night and Good Luck." Mark your calendar for the Nevada Theatre Nov. 18 and the Sierra Cinemas, where it moves after that. Sit in the dark and feel claustrophobic fear. Breathe the air in the closet into which TV journalist Edward R. Murrow shed light in 1954.
Our most courageous TV journalist today is Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show." Stewart has figured out that the best way to rise above the info-tainment and celebrity that rules tube news is to speak truth through a profoundly fake news format.
Murrow, the standard bearer of TV journalism, could afford no such creativity in standing up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy during one of the scariest times in American history. For his forthrightness to hold sway, Murrow had to integrate facts and ideas with a keen sense of reserve.
George Clooney made excellent choices to present that meticulous reserve. His black-and-white film works like amber, suspending Edward R. Murrow's news team in palpable tension. Choosing black and white also allows video footage of Joseph McCarthy to make him a character not played by an actor.
Clooney, of the rakish smile, directs, co-writes, and co-stars. He uses his Hollywood clout from "ER" and movies like "Oceans Eleven" and "O Brother Where Art Thou" to beam an eerie flashlight beneath the chins of a real world Batman and Joker.
With no violence or chases or love scenes, there's no candy in this drama. The trick is to appreciate the role that big media is supposed to play in our society - a world haunted by powerful forces. When you go to bed after seeing this film, with your eyes and ears checking whether it's safe to go to sleep, wish yourself "Good Night and Good Luck."