Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting failure, 17 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Good German [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Shot to look exactly like a 1940s film, even down to Steven Soderbergh using 1940s lenses and vintage black and white cameras, but with added bad language and sporadic violence, The Good German unfortunately ends up feeling like one of his sporadic exercises in style over content. At its heart there's an intriguing story with a strong moral hook as George Clooney's correspondent for Stars and Stripes finds himself distracted from covering the Potsdam Conference in a devastated Germany by the murder of his black marketeering driver Tobey Maguire, which neither the Russians nor the Americans want investigated. Just to complicate matters, Maguire's girlfriend (who he hired out to lonely GIs) turns out to be not just Clooney's pre-war ex but the wife of the personal secretary to a Nazi rocket scientist and war criminal who both sides are very eager to get their hands on - but not for reasons they might want to get out. Sadly, it never really gels. Clooney is kept offstage for much of the first twenty minutes, only really entering the plot long after it's set in motion but suddenly forcing it into a dead stop as his backstory has to be explained and his character properly introduced, sidelining the mystery and taking too long to give a reason to care about him. More curiously, despite seeming the most Old Hollywood of modern leading men he doesn't quite look right in a classic setting, a problem shared by Cate Blanchett, who seems to be trying too hard to force Marlene Dietrich and Ingrid Bergman into her character and not managing to pull it off. It's a shame, because there's quite a lot that is good about The Good German, but it's concentrating too self-consciously on the surface trick of looking like an old movie but sounding like a modern one to ever really concentrate on the story and characters, which always seem to be much less of a priority. As a result, despite a good twist ending, by the time we get to the all-too-obviously Casablanca-inspired airport finale, we simply don't care whether Clooney and Dietrich get on the plane together or part. You'd be better off just watching Jacques Tourneur's Berlin Express instead.

No extras on the DVD.
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Review Details

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2.5 out of 5 stars (40 customer reviews)
5 star:
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Reviewer

Trevor Willsmer
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 65