The Good German

Release Date: December 15, 2006
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, July 4, 2006
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Look, Cate, if you want a hair commercial, just say so.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
43/52 Les Winan Muddled and without purpose, the film wastes Clooney and Blanchett. Maguire is, as always, out of place.
79/200 Max Braden Comparisons to Casablanca are unavoidable, meaning this will strike some as an intersting homage and others as an uninspired knockoff.
104/159 David Mumpower Disappointing Casablanca wannabe wholly wastes the talents of gifted cast.

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George Clooney found tremendous success in 2005 by going black and white in Good Night, and Good Luck. The modern day Cary Grant seeks to duplicate this feat in his next project, The Good German. Never one to go to war without the finest supporting troops, Clooney has also grabbed Section Eight pal Steven Soderbergh to direct and Cate Blanchett to co-star.

The Good German is a theatrical adaptation of the 2002 Jospeh Kanon novel of the same name. The story involves a World War II reporter named Jake Geisman. He had covered Berlin during the conflict and now returns in order to ostensibly cover the historic Potsdam Conference. This meeting takes place in the summer of 1945, and it sees the three main powers of the Allies determining what to do with conquered Germany. Russia's Joseph Stalin, America's Harry S. Truman and England's Clement Attlee negotiate peace treaties, plan reconstruction and attempt to restore order to conquered lands. It would make a great story for Geisman if that were why he was really there...

During World War II, Geisman fell in love with a married German named Lena (Blanchett) and made a cuckold of her husband, mathematician Emil. With the conflict over, Geisman seeks to rekindle their love affair. Preventing this from occurring is a corpse. An American soldier's body washes ashore near the summit but when Geisman takes this news to the military, he is stonewalled by officials reticent to research the

Convinced he has stumbled upon the story of his career, Geisman begins to unravel a mystery that hints that Allied forces are rounding up the finest mathematical minds of the Axis...including a man named Emil who possesses the one item the reporter wants most...not a story nor missile technology but instead the wedding ring that binds Emil to Geisman's love, Lena.

Despite its pedigree, The Good German's plot sounds similar to a film from 15 years ago. Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith covered similar ground in Shining Through, a disappointing Fox release. Somehow BOP isn't quite worried about box office history repeating itself here...despite Ocean's Twelve. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Good German
Main Cast George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire
Supporting Cast Beau Bridges, Tony Curran
Director Steven Soderbergh
Screenwriter Paul Attanasio
Distributor Warner Bros.
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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