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Good [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker, Steven Mackintosh, Mark Strong
  • Directors: Vicente Amorim
  • Producers: Sarah Boote, Billy Dietrich, Kevin Loader, Dan Lupovitz, Miriam Segal
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Aug. 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BC9Y48
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,763 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Political drama based on a stage play by C.P. Taylor set in Germany in the years leading up to World War II. Viggo Mortensen stars as literary professor John Halder. Halder is an essentially decent family man who becomes drawn into the ascent of national socialism after he writes a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia, which is subsequently seized upon by powerful politicians looking for propaganda to support their campaign.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 86 people found the following review helpful By LittleMoon VINE VOICE on 19 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD
John Halder (Viggo Mortenson) is a respected professor of literature, who once wrote a novel about compassionate euthanasia. He now juggles his mother suffering from TB and dementia, his neurotic piano-playing wife, 2 boisterous children, a female student he's very attracted to, book burning, and Proust being eliminated from his curriculum. He regularly escapes life for beer-fuelled heart-to-hearts with his friend, Jewish psychoanalyst Maurice (Jason Isaacs), whose early concern over Hitler is brushed aside: "Hitler's a joke... he'll never last."

When Hitler's chancellor summons Halder to write a report on the "case for an enlightened approach to mercy death on the grounds of humanity" there's only one problem... Halder isn't a member of the party. In a sudden sweep, Halder becomes an "honorary" member of the SS, with all its subsequent privileges, separates from his wife, and begins a new and successful life - albeit at the expense of his friend, and his conscience. As Hitler's Germany takes shape, Maurice's situation becomes increasingly unstable, and when he finally comes begging for help to leave the country, Halder is placed in an impossible position.

The movie, based on a stage play by C P Taylor, moves slowly, as Halder is assimilated into the role of unwilling Nazi; and though he never stops doing "good", he finds himself on dangerous, ethically ambiguous ground, as he is forced to weigh up his friendship with Maurice against his own survival. The climax of the movie has a harrowing, nightmarish quality, as Halder's conscience, which inserts itself very occasionally in the form of music, as members of the cast break out in fragments of song (reminiscent of Dancer in the Dark), leads him to face the consequences of his decisions.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Jacobs VINE VOICE on 21 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
Viggo Mortenson plays an academic, a likeable guy who doesn't want to make trouble, but doesn't feel strong enough to risk his livelihood and position by standing up to the rise of the Nazis in Germany.

When they burn books, he stands by. When his Jewish friend begins to be stripped of his fundamental human rights, he stands by, and says "why don't you leave. You don't have any ties here", forgetting that his friend is a native German, and has just as much right to stay as he has.

Then, he is co-opted by the SS to vindicate their hateful policies, and again, he doesn't feel it will hurt.

It is a slippery slope, and at the end of the film, he discovers just how deep the hole at the bottom of that slope can get. I won't put in spoilers, but this film is a serious warning of how things can start small, and grow big, and then spiral of the control of anybody who recognises what is happening.

As some people might put it, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is just the message that this film is trying to teach.

Just as "Nazis: A Warning From History" The Nazis - A Warning From History [DVD] [1997] shows, once irrational hatred takes hold, it takes on a life of its own. And if you look at the news today, you can see that it IS starting to happen again, so it's a warning we all need to heed. This time around, don't just be "good", be better!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ms. K. Judge on 19 Nov. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this movie primarily because I am a big Viggo Mortensen fan, and the film delighted me and also surprised me in many ways.

It is like watching a play rather than a movie, as so much of the content is in the dialogue and in the relationship between the character Viggo plays and his friend played by Jason Isaacs - who is absolutely excellent. It is chilling to see how someone who is intrinsically 'good' can be coerced and threatened, by a regime such as the rising National Socialist part in Germany, into taking actions which he cannot really justify or understand. It is a fascinating study of the struggle between a man's conscience and his fear for the safety of himself and his family.

It made me think about what fear does to a person, and to a nation when they are in the grip of dictatorship, and how incredibly brave people can be when they do take a stand and often sacrifice their lives. It's beautifully acted, and paced but not for anyone who is looking for a war film or an action film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edelbee on 24 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the most powerful, thought provoking and moving pieces that I have viewed in a long while. It asks the question that so many of us have posed namely how could Nazi Germany ever have flourished - surely the vast majority of the German population was made up of thoughful,kind, people - all of whom could have been described as being, essentially, good?

The main character, John Halder, is played by Viggo Mortenson. Halder is a decent sort, an academic whose mother is desperately ill. He takes her in to his home to care for her, putting himself, his wife and marriage under terrible pressure. To vent some of this pressure he writes a novel. In this novel a husband, faced with a sick wife who is beyond all medical help, assists her, out of compassion, to commit suicide. The novel, of limited interest at the time of publication, is seized upon by the Nazi Party as a fine instrument of propaganda to promote its own long term goal of genetic cleansing. Halder is coopted into assisting and in time even into joining the Nazi Party. He does so in the naif belief that he can keep Nazi ideology at arm's length and remain unpolluted by it, perhaps even helping to calm and modify Nazi policies.

After all, he tells himself, he is doing nothing. Instead of this he ,in despite of himself ,is forced to extend and deepen the nature of his cooperation becoming an integral and essential part of the widening Nazi horror. One small extra step of cooperation is taken, time after time, with Halder, on every occaision telling himself that he is doing nothing.The film is well scripted and brilliantly staged and shot.

The background music has been skillfully chosen and is well played,not drowning out the dialogue as in certain films.
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