Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Good German

The coolest thing about The Good German is the style in which it was shot.  It not only mimics old black and whites from the 40s and 50s, it used that era's techniques and technology, in terms of lighting, sound, and camera lenses.  So the feel is very authentic.  In some ways, the story and dialogue captures the era as well.

Unfortunately, the plot and characters disappoint.  It's post-WWII Berlin, at the time of the Potsdam Conference.  Tully, the driver, is taking advantage of opportunities on the black market to make a few bucks.  Jake, the journalist, is returning to Berlin, where he discovers that his driver, Tully, is having an affair with Jake's former mistress, Lena.  And as it happens, both the Russians and the Americans want to know the whereabouts of Lena's husband, a German rocket scientist.

When Tully turns up murdered, the story gets interesting, and Jake wants to get to the bottom of it.  The political and military backdrop of this period of history do make the story interesting, but, I never got into the characters.  I didn't care who killed Tully, I didn't care if Jake and Lena got back together, and I didn't care if Lena got passage out of Berlin.  Her husband, the Good German, I could have cared about, but he had such a small role, I didn't end up really caring about him, either.

Definitely a stylish movie, with some good substance, but not enough story or characters to care about.

Bottom line, 2 stars.

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