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Despite its flaws,The Good Germanis a welcome gift for every film lover who laments that "they don't make 'em like they used to." Steven Soderbergh's affectionate, knowing tribute to the black-and-white melodramas of Hollywood's golden age may lack the emotional depth and romantic passion of Michael Curtiz'sCasablanca--the 1946 classic it intentionally emulates--but as Soderbergh approximates Curtiz's studio style, he delivers a shimmering, shadowy reminder that movies can be enjoyed for the sheer pleasure of their craftsmanship. Once again serving as his own cinematographer (credited as "Peter Andrews"), Soderbergh went to great lengths to technically and aesthetically re-create the look and feel of a Curtiz production, and Joseph Kanon'ssource novel(adapted byQuiz Showscreenwriter Paul Attanasio) provides a twisting plot set around the historical Potsdam conference in post-World War II Germany. An American military journalist, Capt. Jake Geismer (George Clooney) is in rubble-strewn Berlin to cover the event, and is quickly drawn into a murder plot involving his appointed driver (Tobey Maguire), an old flame-turned-wartime prostitute (Cate Blanchett) and her missing husband, a scientist who possesses pivotal secrets coveted by Americans and Russians in a pre-Cold War bid for power.

Violence, sexual content, and salty dialogue make it clear that this R-rated drama is a brashly contemporary homage to films of a bygone era, and not a slavish attempt to copy the past. This yields mixed results in terms of the film's overall appeal; it's gorgeous to look at, but the plot and performances exist in a vacuum, and the entire film feels oddly disengaged from any sense of genuine human emotion. It's probably fair to say that Soderbergh had more fun making the film than most people will have watching it. And yet, as Clooney's character is repeatedly beaten and deceived on his path to cynical enlightenment, The Good German has many qualities that make it recommendable, not the least being the pleasure of following a talented director as he indulges his penchant for bold experimentation. --Jeff Shannon

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CastCate Blanchett, George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, Jack Thompson, John Roeder
DirectorSteven Soderbergh
Genre:  Action, Adventure
Screen WriterPaul Attanasio, Joseph Kanon
DVD Release Date:  May 22, 2007
Runtime:  105 minutes
Studio:  Warner Home Video
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More The Good German (2006) reviews
review by . May 27, 2007
Viewers are split on reaction to Steven Soderbergh's experimental THE GOOD GERMAN and for good reason. The theatrical and cinematic qualities of this film noir are stunning, creating not only a flashback to the 1940s films but to the period of the 1940s in postwar Europe. The story is rich in suspense, visual surprises, and intrigue, and manages to unfold a complex tale involving many characters in a manner that keeps the viewer guessing about the outcome until the final image fades. But the film …
review by . May 23, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
(2 1/2 *'s) It's no surprise after the success of `Good Night and Good Luck,' George Clooney and Steven Sodenheim would team up to create another vintage historical drama of great import. Unfortunately, despite being filmed in stunning black and white and recorded with an authentically old-fashioned score, the movie threads together monumental history and a detective tale in a way that isn't as cohesive or focused as the former triumph. There are solid moments to be sure: Clooney plays U.S. army …
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