Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) — a stylistic film about journalist Edward R. Murrow‘s attempts to discredit witch-hunting US Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s — demonstrates again that George Clooney, as the director this time, has more guts than most actors in Hollywood. He doesn’t settle for making mindless disposable blockbusters if he doesn’t have to. His movies are so apart from the mainstream at times, some people must wonder, what the hell is doing? But he’s making some interesting movies. I was bored with “Good Night, and Good Luck” when it first came out, but now I know better. Read the review I’ve linked to and check it out. It may be a challenge for some viewers, but man, it’s good — and relevant considering the paranoid political climate in the US today.
The American (2010) may superficially seem like another quiet and contained George Clooney Oscar contender like “Michael Clayton” and “Up In The Air,” but those movies were just practice runs for “The American.” Clooney has striped his performance down to the bare essentials. The effect is intriguing and at times startling. It took me for a ride from the beginning to the very last frame. The storyline, about a lonely assassin-type guy in Italy waiting around for his next assignment, may not seem like anything special, but it’s a slow-burn character study that pays off if you watch carefully and let it sink in. Some may find that boring, but I think “The American” is one of the most well-crafted movies I’ve seen in the past decade. I admire Clooney for making movies like this that go against the grain. He’s got guts alright.