The Good German (Soderbergh, 2006)

Steven Soderbergh better be careful. Over the past few years, he’s made some “daring” formal choices when it comes to his films, but a consistent and glaring mistake as well. The one cinematic aspect that binds the awfulness of Ocean’s 12, Bubble, and now The Good German is boring and relentlessly indulgent screenplays. The Good German might be the apex of this failure to compliment visuals with story, sporadically using voice over narration, a muddled espionage angle, and corny dialogue which ultimately alienates Soderbergh’s tail of post war Berlin from the forefathers (i.e. Casablanca, The Third Man) he’s trying so hard to reference. The actors, namely Clooney and Blanchet do all they can with the material, but Soderbegh can’t bring together the many convoluted threads of this seemingly intricate story, producing a mixture of cold, monotone scenes with sometimes stunning B/W photography creeping over planted CGI and archival footage. The Good German represents the antithesis to earlier Soderbergh films like The Limey, Out of Sight, and The Underneath, which all rely on the script to set the foundation for his dazzling directing. Lately, Soderbergh has forgotten what comes first, and in turn has laid some serious eggs. For a director this powerful, talented, and experimental, there’s no excuse for slumming it with low grade material.

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