Good German, The
Right after World War 2, the Allied forces are about to come together to sign a peace treaty.
Under these circumstances we find American military reporter Jake Geismer back in Berlin where he meets his old love, Lena, again. Lena is trying to get out of the city but doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with him anymore. Instead, she’s been going out with his driver Tully who’s got some scams running on the black market and has promised to help her. When Tully gets found murdered in the Russian quarter of the city, Jake quickly finds out that nobody’s interesting in getting to the truth. Except for him of course.
Sound and Vision:
The image contains some compression errors but due to the fact of the black&white screen, you’ll probably not notice unless you’re looking out for them. There’s some real historical footage mixed together with the movie and those scenes are nicely cleaned up eventhough you can still see the difference; there’s some grain present and you can still see some occasional white dots from print damage. All in all the image quality is pretty decent though.
The sound comes in 5.1 but the focus is on the main speakers. The surrounds are hardly ever used except for some of the music parts which do sound pretty good.
The Good German is a weird piece of film. Soderbergh tried to bring the old “film noir” genre back to life and this by making the movie in black&white, making you expect to see Humphrey Bogart any minute. Of course Humphrey doesn’t show his face, but then there’s the music. That is very orchestral in a dark way, much like we know from the Batman movies so you start expecting to see the Caped Crusader showing up. Guess what, he doesn’t show his face either. Instead, we get to see a lot of George Clooney and Cate Blanchett and although there might be some chemistry going on between the two, it’s of no use as the plot fails to keep you interested.
In the end, it looks like Soderbergh has used a ton of tricks to make The Good German stand out of the crowd but unfortunately, these fail to hide the truth that the story of the movie just isn’t strong enough and the plot twists major downers. You’ll just wonder “Is that it? Is that why we’ve spent 100 minutes watching this? Is this why the violins went berserk?”
Stylistically, The Good German is a nice piece of work though. As said before, the black&white images along with the paranoid atmosphere that’s created remind of Sin City, the music could have come right out of a Batman movie, and the film noir part with the femme fatale do make it nice to look at it from a technical point of view. Unfortunately, it fails as a movie. If you want a “film noir”, check out L.A. Confidential again.