This striking, black-and-white drama believes in something
perhaps only the child of a former television news anchor – which co-writer/director George Clooney is – could believe in: that TV news can save the nation. A brisk dramatization of broadcaster Edward R. Murrow’s on-air challenges to the anti-communist campaign of Sen. Joseph
R. McCarthy, Clooney’s movie both celebrates Murrow’s journalistic audacity and laments the dearth of just that today. If neither position is quite as grounded in reality as Clooney suggests – if Murrow (played by David Strathairn here) was hardly the lone crusader in the media against McCarthy and if modern TV news isn’t exactly a vast wasteland – that doesn’t take away from the artful conviction with which Clooney puts his civics lesson on the screen.