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The Good German
Review By: Staff
Nothing will be said about The Good German without directly comparing it to the classic black and white films of the 1940s and 50s. Notably the Michael Curtiz classic Casablanca (1942). Both films being microcosmic love stories set during World War II involving the interactions between those of opposing nations.
In the wake of World War II, Berlin has become a battleground for position, with the victorious American’s and the Russians “fighting” over the land. A U.S. War correspondent Jake (George Clooney) has arrived to cover the peace conference between Truman, Churchill, and Stalin. Jake, in Berlin for the second time, has other motivations. His ex-mistress Lena (Cate Blanchett) a German beauty is harboring an important secret from both the Americans and the Russians, while simultaneously secretly trying to get out of Berlin with the help of her current lover American Corporal Tully (Tobey Maguire). Tully has been set to be Jake’s personal driver; but it quickly becomes clear that Tully has other more evil motivations as well. Post-war torn Berlin is not all that different from pre-war Berlin.
Film lovers will surely appreciate the choices that director Steven Soderbergh continually makes with each new film he directs. It seems quite rare for a big named director to continually make eclectic films. A quick review of his work will reveal this diverse catalog.
His independent days with Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), his popularity with his first collaboration with Clooney in Out of Sight (1998), touching on important social issues in both Traffic (2000 – winning an Oscar for Best Director) and Erin Brockavich (2000). What maybe his most telling assorted nature of his work is the two popcorn style films, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), and Ocean’s Twelve (2004). One of the reasons I feel that Twelve was far less successful was due to the fact that Soderbergh made specific antithetical choices in changing the formula from the highly successful first film in the now franchise (with an Ocean’s Thirteen arriving in the summer of ’07). In Twelve, gone was the sleek tracking shots, the illuminating lighting, the suave characters out to stick it to the man. Enter the stagnant camera, the zoom instead of the fancier moving push in camera motion, the characters being rustled, harried, fighting for their lives. With his latest, The Good German Soderbergh steps away from the conventional Hollywood fare to make a black and white murder mystery that leans heavily upon the audiences knowledge of the classic black and white films of the 40s/50s. We appreciate your choices Mr. Soderbergh.
The Good German is