April 25, 2008

The Good German (2006)

Soderbergh's homage to 40's noir filmed with 40's technology is but a mere shadow of what it tries to emulate. While it did remind me in spirit of films from the era, it was still painfully obvious that this was nothing more than Soderbergh and Clooney playing with their little film toys and was made more for their own pleasure than our own. The score was reminiscent of Citizen Kane and the plot of Casablanca, it nevertheless felt forced. Maguire's casting was something that's beyond me, as he felt like a fish out of water in this serious adult film, and his little attempt of violence and evil felt as fake as his so called 'period-inspired' acting style. The one highlight among the performers is Blanchett, which seemed to channel Dietrich, albeit barely able to keep up, which is only normal, seeing how Dietrich is one of a kind. Cinematography was alright. It did remind me of those old 40's films, but it was still obvious that it was filmed recently despite Soderbergh's attempt to convince us otherwise. I think the fact that it was filmed in colour and that they sometimes used green-screen had something to do with it. I'm pretty sure that the film stock would have been different than the one in the 40's, and they might have achieved better results if they just used some heavy digital filtering in post. Then again, I'm not exactly a film editor so I can't really speculate, but something just felt 'wrong' to me. Overall I was glad I saw it. I'm not the biggest Soderbergh fan, and out of his various 'homages' I think the only one I truly enjoyed was the Oceans series, although that may be since I'm yet to watch the original. Solaris was a mere shadow of Tarkovsky, as much as The Good German is a mere shadow of Wilder/Curtiz/Huston.