Video Review: The Good German

The Good German, starring George Clooney, Kate Blanchett, and Toby Maguire, directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Paul Attanasio (screen) and Joseph Kanon (novel).

This movie is noir-tastic, filmed in 40’s-style black-and-white, and scored to match. It’s homage to Bogart and Hitchcock by Clooney and Soderbergh, and definitely worth a look if you’re down with that. They recreate the mood, the shots, lighting, and yes, dialogue of some of those old films.

I’m not the uberfilmgeek who recognizes all the tricks, but the way characters are introduced and relate, the pacing and plot elements, and certain tropes (like the double-cross and getting hit from behind with a chair/hard object) provide for an artful noirish experience. It made me remember Film 101, but in a good way. The plot revolves around murder and deeper mysteries–as it should–in bombed-out postwar Berlin. Blanchett plays a great femme-fatale and pretty much owns every scene. She alone is worth the rental fee. Maguire is good as the consummate GI dickhead. Clooney had to be in this movie because he co-produced, but he’s defintely weak in the lead/detective role. You plug in someone like say, Ed Norton, Viggo Mortenssen, or Hugh Jackman, and now you’re on to something.

Geek Historical Inaccuracy Note: Maguire drives around in what appears to be an automatic Jeep, which was clearly impossible in 1945. Apparently Spidey can’t drive a stick.

If you’re down with the noir, The Good German is worth your two+ hours.


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