June 9, 2007

Film review

We finally watched The Good German (2006) last night. I read the book last fall and looked forward to seeing the film version, especially when I heard it was directed by Steven Soderbergh. I liked his work in Erin Brockavich, Out of Sight, Traffic, and even Ocean's Eleven. But the Good German stunk. It really did.

Soderbergh tried to recreate the old B&W style of Casablanca and other 1940s films, but with modern sex, violence and language. All of that would have been fine except he took a perfectly good story and mangled it into an incomprehensible mess. And not in a Chinatown way, where nothing is what you think it is (though you know what the story is), but in a just mangled mess. You have no idea why these people act and why they do what they do, and by the end of the film you don't care. The novel was complicated, but as I noted to SOF last night, the film makers kept the most complicated part of the story, but stripped the other parts bare, combining characters needlessly and completely eradicating a very interesting old German detective. He becomes a mindless thug.

Anyway, don't bother.

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