.

The Good German

George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Robin Weigert, Dave Power

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
November 21, 2006

OK, it's more of an experiment than a movie. But why deny the magic? Director Steven Soderbergh hasn't merely made an espionage thriller set in post-World War II Berlin, he's shot it in black-and-white using only equipment available to Hollywood directors in the 1940s. That means fixed lenses (no zoom), boom mikes hanging over the actors' heads (no wireless) and hardly any computer graphics. Soderbergh couldn't bring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman back from the dead, but he did the next best thing. He hired George Clooney, who exudes a timeless star quality and plays it hard and achingly romantic as Jake Geismar, an Army war correspondent. Then there's Cate Blanchett, who plays it achingly bitter as Lena Brandt, Jake's ex-lover, who will put a price on her body and her conscience to get out of Berlin.

Add Tobey Maguire to the mix as Tully, a motor-pool soldier with connections in the black market and a black heart that belies his baby face. No fair giving away too much about a movie that prizes its aura of mystery. But Paul Attanasio has adapted the novel by Joseph Kanon to evoke 1940s classics such as The Third Man and Casablanca with a skeptical modern squint. In short, the movie works on its own, with a gleam of seductive corruption that doesn't allow for a happy ending. The actors all come up aces, especially Blanchett, who catches the deadpan glamour of Marlene Dietrich and a deadly allure strong enough to lead men to their doom. Still, this is Soderbergh's show, and a haunting and hypnotic show it is. I'd also praise cinematographer Peter Andrews and editor Mary Ann Bernard, except those are just names Soderbergh made up to hide behind. No true student of cinema will want to miss his ride back to the future. It's pure moviegoing bliss.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • joe Nicolas Cage
      star rating
      Roadside Attractions
    • star rating
      Summit Entertainment
    • star rating
      Paramount Pictures
    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com