The Good German
, , , , ,
109 min.
Release Date
The Good German

The Good German is among Steven Soderbergh’s most daring experiments, though it’s not altogether a successful one. The artistic question driving the production is this: What would it look like if the Hays Code had not restricted a classical Hollywood production? Could the formal techniques from the 1940s be used to explore the grim reality, compromised morality, brutal violence, and sexuality of postwar Berlin? “It will be interesting to see if people can wrap their minds around the blending of these two ideas,” Soderbergh said in press notes. Although each element of The Good German’s presentation recalls visual, audio, and narrative components used in 1940s films set during and after the war—specifically Casablanca (1942), A Foreign Affair (1948), and The Third Man (1949)—the material features subject matter that feels inappropriate for films made in that style, especially for audiences versed in the moral guidelines of classical Hollywood cinema. But while The Good German maintains Soderbergh’s interest in stories about the human cost of social injustice and corrupt institutions, his aesthetic gamble doesn’t always pay off as well as it should have dramatically. The resulting pastiche is an admirable, at times ungainly, yet always compelling film that must be admired for existing at all. 

The full review is currently posted on Patreon. Join Deep Focus Review’s Patron community, and you’ll receive exclusive access to this review and many other writings published on Patreon first.

Patrons also get access to:

• Exclusive weekly blog posts
• Streaming recommendations every Friday
• Polls to pick the movies reviewed on Deep Focus Review and Patreon
• Pick your own “Reader’s Choice” review (at the Screenwriter tier or higher)
• Polls that decide the next entry in The Definitives

Become a Patron!

Recent Articles

  1. The Definitives: The Terminator
  2. The Definitives: Melancholia
  3. The Definitives: Eve's Bayou
  4. Guest Appearance: Kare 11 - Three movies that got 'snubbed' by the Oscars in 2024
  5. The Definitives: Goodfellas
  6. The Definitives: Millennium Mambo
  7. Reader's Choice: The Devil's Advocate
  8. Reader's Choice: Sisu
  9. Reader's Choice: Peter Pan & Wendy
  10. Top 10 Films of 2023