"Good Night, and Good Luck" may be set in 1954, but it seems very much a postâ€“9-11 film. You’ve said that you and Grant Heslov began writing the script three years ago. That’s during the run-up to the Iraq war. Did you find yourself changing your conception in response to what was going on? I was getting beat up pretty good around that time. But I thought there were more important issues than Bill O’Reilly doing a show about my career being over because of my political views. I was concerned about the lack of debate. The conception changed only in that a book came out about how great McCarthy was and how wrong Murrow was . . .
Ann Coulter’s "Treason"? Yes. I realized that we had to be incredibly careful with the facts, because if we got any of them wrong, they could say it’s all horseshit. So I had to double-source every scene.
Hoberman likes the film, and softballs it a little â€” the whole thing’s a particularly interesting read alongside Slate‘s Jack Shafer‘s incisive take-down of the film, which he sees as overly simplistic and missing the point:
Clooney is an able director, artfully meshing the original documentary film footage from Murrow’s weekly CBS series, "See It Now," with recreations of the studio end of the broadcasts. But it all goes wrong with the naive screenplay, written by Clooney and his collaborator, fellow actor/producer Grant Heslov. Plowing through the Murrow and McCarthy literature after viewing the film, I was impressed at how deeply Clooney and Heslov researched the topic yet dismayed at how they cherry-picked material to compose their sermon.
Mark Feeney at the Boston Globe concerns himself with the depiction of Truman Capote as both celebrity and journalist in "Capote," and where Bennett Miller‘s Capote fits in the complicated history of Hollywood depictions of journalists "who play fast and loose with their sources."
Yet even though Capote is writing on assignment for The New Yorker, part of the fascination of the film lies in its title character being far more than just a journalist. It’s not a scoop he’s after. It’s a literary masterpiece. Sweetheart, get me rewrite? Sweetheart, get me Parnassus. No one is as aware of this as Capote himself. "Sometimes when I think how good my book is I can hardly breathe," he confesses at one point.
Then back to Slate, where Daphne Merkin voices her own opinions on Capote as celebrity, as icon, as journalist, and how the film fits up with them.