65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Intriguing Wartime Film Noir,
"The Good German" provides viewers with intriguing film noir related to a war setting. Director Steve Soderbergh opted for a black and white treatment of a film based in war torn Germany at the end of the conflict for a very good reason.
Some reviewers were critical of using film noir format at a current point of film making when war ravaged Germany could have been shown using the latest in color technology. "What was the point of it?" critics have asked pertaining to Soderbergh's decision.
As someone who has written two books on the subject of film noir, I will use the opportunity to jump into Soderbergh's shoes and explain what I would presume his motivation to be. While so many critics remain ensconced in the captivating old detective genre starring a Robert Mitchum, Dick Powell or Humphrey Bogart, war provides a starkness all its own.
In viewing "The Good German" I concluded that the starkness of black and white suited the tenor, tone and mood of a drama set against the rubble of the great city of Berlin after the destruction of war had taken its tragic toll.
As for the dramatic elements, George Clooney was ideal as the war reporter who returns to Germany after hostilities have ended and reheats old passions with sleek, sexy and very savvy Cate Blanchett. When he learns that she has been having an affair with the young soldier who has been assigned to be his driver Clooney becomes disgusted, seeking to learn more about a woman he now believes to be a self-serving opportunist up to her eyeballs in intrigue.
After having a violent physical confrontation with his young driver, Clooney becomes more curious as the driver's body washes up on shore after his corpse has been floating in the river. The reporter becomes more determined to find out more about the woman who had been his lover. He is now convinced that he knew far less about than he had earlier believed.
Cate Blanchett plays her role of a lady of mystery with consummate skill. She immerses herself in her role as a German so well that she is physically unrecognizable from the star that played another great actress named Kate with a "K", namely Hepburn in "The Aviator."
At the film's end Clooney's confrontation with Blanchett reveals her as someone determined to survive during a war period and in a city where bodies are falling all around her.
The lesson to be learned is that life is a battle for survival and that the Blanchetts of the world are the most skilled at playing it, enhancing their chances to endure. Philosophers continue to ponder the question of the morality of tactics pursued that would be anything but acceptable under less compelling circumstances.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 27, 2007 6:46:36 PM PDT
Whilst i can appreciate your knowledge of noir film I would be really grateful if you could say if tobey maguire gets killed halfway through, from your review it sounds like he does.I am a maguire fan and would only be only really buying it to see him ,although hes no peter lorre..
Posted on Sep 18, 2008 2:41:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2008 2:42:17 PM PDT
S. Gordon says:
I appreciate your insightful look and understanding of this great and undervalued gem. Everyone I know hates this film, probably because I keep showing it to everyone I know, I think it's brillant, next to Traffic it's Sodenberg's best work. Film can become so dull because everyone has to make their films more or less the same way, at least a few mavericks are willing to challange that belief, I wish more directors had the power and guts to do so, until then, I say let's support those who do.
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