This film was a real treat, with Strathairn's dead-on performance as legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow a sure bet for at least an Oscar nomination. Perhaps the best decision by writer-director George Clooney was to cast no one in the role of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Instead, Clooney uses actual footage of McCarthy in the HUAC hearings and press conferences. Movies based on actual historical events often sensationalize events, but the extensive use of documentary footage brings home the reality of this movie's story line.
In addition to Strathairn's best performance to date, the entire cast delivers, from Clooney himself as Murrow's producer Fred Friendly, to Frank Langella as CBS chairman William Paley, to Ray Wise as the insecure anchorman Don Hollenbeck. If there is a weak point in the cast, it is Jeff Daniels, who was given little to do in the role of news director Sig Mickelson and did little with it.
As most people today are acquainted with the 1950s through black-and-white images, the decision to film in black-and-white also feels appropriate, and helps the documentary footage to blend in seamlessly with the filmed actors. I strongly recommend this film to those who lived through the McCarthy era and to those, such as myself, who only have witnessed it in the rear view mirror.
Nobody thought this day would come. And yet here it is, in the form of an adventure movie that will make your heart pound. The special effects of the disasters are marvelous. Too bad they couldn't make it in 3-D.
I saw this film for the second time recently. What a delight it remains! The rural Newfoundland setting is sparse, and yet the script moves quickly from one social encounter to the next, each new scene revealing more about these characters and their desires, their anguish, their capacity for childlike joy.
The chemistry between the three main characters is so unlikely and so delightful that it is pointless to analyze beyond the obvious forms of emptiness that draw them together. So, one at a time:
Peter Dinklage as Finn gives a stunning performance that ranges from shy vulnerability, to rage, to patient endurance. He is an astonishing, smart actor.
Bobby Cannavale, the Cuban American, Joe, almost steals every scene he is in. His unfiltered energy and his desperate extroversion is both shocking and delightful. Almost steals. I was too busy watching Finn and Olivia's responses to Joe since those responses were equally fascinating.
And Patricia Clarkson gives a slightly veiled but rich performance as Olivia that begins with moments of hilarious clumsiness but slowly grows to reveals a deep woundedness under the surface.
The film carries potentially heavy material with amazing
light-handedness, and yet the deeper themes manage to resonate. It is light-hearted without treating its characters lightly. It is light-hearted and heartening at the same time.
Square Peg In The Round Hole
Reviewed by Penny for The Station Agent at 2008-03-19 12:17:02
Thoroughly enjoyed the screenwriting, sets & performances of The Station Agent. The story is one of friendship & acceptance. Haven't we all felt like a square peg in a round hole at some point in our lives? Reccomend to all who enjoy independent films, and art theatres.