A terrible film made from an outstanding novel!
DocJay | San Diego, CA | 02/09/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I guess I should know better by now than to hope that a film adaptation of a really good novel could satisfy me. I'v seen too much evidence to the contrary, starting with the film adaptation of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny", from which the film omitted the entire second half of the novel. I'm just glad that I borrowed this atrocity from my local library for free! Joe Kanon is my favorite contemporary author (I've even started a fascinating correspondence with him), but this film takes such wanton liberties with his plot, characters, and basic premise that it's totally unrecognizable! Take the character Tully: in the novel he's a lieutenant who appears live only briefly in the first scene, only to be murdered immediately. In the film he is demoted to a corporal assigned to a motorpool and hangs around as a creep for at least half of the production, totally losing the focus on the reason for the murder of the original character. And the photographer Liz (a double for Bourke-White) doesn't even appear! If only something could have been gained by all the liberties taken, I might have forgiven the screenwriter, but in point of fact he accomplishes nothing but the diffusion of the plot till it's totally obscure! At the end I found myself asking, "What, after all, is meant by a 'good' German?" The whole moral point of the novel is lost, and all that remains is muddled, obscure trash, posing as film noir."
The Good German
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 03/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Berlin, July, 1945. Journalist Jake Geismer arrives to cover the Potsdam conference, issued a captain's uniform for easier passage. He also wants to find Lena, an old flame who's now a prostitute desperate to get out of Berlin. He discovers that the driver he's assigned, a cheerful down-home sadist named Corporal Tully, is Lena's keeper. When the body of a murdered man washes up in Potsdam within the Russian sector, Jake may be the only person who wants to solve the crime. U.S. personnel are busy finding Nazis to bring to trial, the Russians and the Americans are looking for German rocket scientists, and Lena has her own secrets. The movie is mesmerizing. Say what you will about it, you have to commend Soderbergh on his cinematography skills. This a movie done in black and white, and was very well done. The score is good. It evokes just the right atmosphere. The editing is crisp and clever. I wouldn't say it's Soderbergh's best movies, but it's certainly one of his his most unique ones, I think. I highly recommend it.