The Good German
Summer 2007 Summer Films series
Sunday, July 8, 2007 at 8:00pm
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring George Clooney, Toby Maguire, and Cate Blanchett
Rated 14A ·
English, German, and Russian
One of mainstream cinema’s most tirelessly inventive directors, Steven Soderbergh delivers another big-budget stylistic experiment with The Good German. This time around, Soderbergh’s target is 1940s film noir. Set in postwar Berlin, the atmospheric thriller is based on the acclaimed novel by Joseph Kanon. Frequent Soderbergh collaborator George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) plays Jake Geismer, an American military journalist who has returned to Berlin for the Potsdam Peace Conference. Jake’s driver, Tully (Tobey Maguire, Seabiscuit), appears innocent upon first glance, but is in fact a major player in the corrupt Berlin underworld. He’s also dating Jake’s former flame, Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), whose beauty continues to torment Jake. When Tully’s cadaver washes ashore one day, Jake is shocked to discover that nobody wants to go public with the news. As much as he’d like to forget about Lena, he can’t. Pretty soon, he’s risking his life to help her flee the country.
In shooting The Good German, Soderbergh employed many of the actual filmmaking techniques that were used in the 1940s: black-and-white cinematography, elaborately constructed sets, wide master shots, and a sweeping score (compliments of Thomas Newman). The result is a film that looks and feels like it was made in a much earlier era, yet which contains the graphic language and content of a 21st-century production.