Thursday, October 06, 2005

Murrow movie mullings.

Jack Shafer at Slate performs a takedown of George Clooney's Edward Murrow movie, Good Luck and Good Night, on the basis that it is not faithful to the historical details.

This vein of article always strikes me as tendentious bushwah. People who like movies based on history, ESPECIALLY recent history, ought to realize that they're getting a version of history modified by space and scope limitations, desire to tell a story with structure and momentum and other artsy things like that, commercial pressures from the studio, limitations in the cast's abilities, and the director's personal interpretation of the subject matter. If you like the movie, and you're interested in the subject, hopefully you'll read a little bit more about it and become genuinely informed. If you already know something about the subject, it's interesting to see historical figures "come to life" and compare the director's take on history with yours. Anyone who regularly reads Slate is probably tuned in enough to know they should take movies with a grain of salt. Anyone who thinks they really learned something substantive about Prohibition from watching The Untouchables, or about LBJ from watching Path to War, or needed JFK to tell him/her there was something fishy about the Warren Report, needs to take a mild sedative and a nap. The only point is to make a engrossing visual/narrative experience, and put actors in position to conjure up some "flavor" of a certain historical period. Sheesh.

In summary: Ridley Scott gets to make Kingdom of Heaven, and John Lee Hancock gets to make The Alamo, and nobody has an obligation to watch either one. And if you do, you didn't get violated simply because you and the director don't see eye to eye. You just picked a movie you didn't like... sorry 'bout your luck. Now, if you actually thought The Green Berets was a better movie than Platoon on the artistic merits, I might inwardly snicker at your taste, but it doesn't have much to do with the history of the Vietnam War.


At 8:40 AM, Blogger Askinstoo said...

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At 9:47 PM, Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

Gadzooks, "The Alamo" was a disappointment. I felt Disney oozing from the screen. Give me "Gods and Generals."


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