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GOOD GERMAN, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
US war correspondent Jake Geismer (George Clooney) returns to Berlin at war's end, to cover the 1945 Potsdam Peace Conference. Like everyone in Berlin, Jake's driver, Corporal Tully (Tobey Maguire), is busy wheeling and dealing. Soon after he discovers that his old pre-war flame Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett) is now Tully's girlfriend, Tully ends up in the Russian zone with 100,000 Marks in his pockets and a bullet in his back. Jake finds himself drawn into the mystery of this murder, why both the American and Russian authorities look the other way and what it was that Tully was trying to peddle on the black market.

Review by Louise Keller:
If this noirish mystery thriller had been made in the mid 40s at the time Joseph Kanon's novel is set, chances are Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman would have been cast as the US war correspondent and his German former girlfriend. In fact, there's an airport scene that will bring instant memories of Casablanca. But Casablanca, The Good German, is not. There is no instant love affair with the characters, nor do we desperately care about their future together.

But, there are other compelling reasons to see Steven Soderbergh's stylishly haunting and enigmatic film. Firstly, Soderbergh's moody direction, editing and black and white cinematography is a magnet that lures us into the shadows of Berlin as the war draws to a close and everyone is scrambling for survival. It's a pleasure to listen to Thomas Newman's beautifully unsettling music, and if charisma was counted on a scale of 1 to 10, George Clooney and Cate Blanchett would easily leave the single digits behind. With his classic good looks, Clooney easily fits into the era, while the bewitching chameleon Blanchett is every bit the femme fatale. She is sensual and mysterious and Blanchett gets every detail right - from her melancholy body language to her excellent German accent.

Surprisingly, Soderbergh tells his story from three points of view: firstly from that of Tobey Maguire's corrupt wheeler dealer, then Clooney's cynical war correspondent and finally from Blanchett's as the desperate Jewish wife of a former SS officer. The device is unexpected and in some ways alienates us from all the characters. Set at an explosive time in history when Truman, Churchill and Stalin make their way to Potsdam to delineate European borders, tension is rife at every turn. It is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad. After all, the war is over, and as Clooney observes, 'In the good old days you could tell the bad guys by who was shooting at you.'

Published July 12, 2007

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

GOOD GERMAN, THE: DVD (MA)
(US)

CAST: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Dominic Comperatore, Dave Power, John Roeder, Jack Thompson

PRODUCER: Ben Cosgrove, Gregory Jacobs, Steven Soderbergh

DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh

SCRIPT: Paul Attanasio (novel by Joseph Kanon)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Soderbergh

EDITOR: Steven Soderbergh

MUSIC: Thomas Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philip Messina

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 8, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: July 4, 2007







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