(R, 1:35:48, Released 2008)
|Release Date:||Sep 8, 2008|
|DVD Release Date:||May 1, 2009|
|Starring:||Viggo Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker, Mark Strong, Steven Mackintosh, Gemma Jones, Anastasia Hille, Ruth Gemmell, Ralph Riach, Steven Elder|
|Directed by:||Vicente Amorim|
|Synopsis:||Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs star in this period drama set in 1930s-era Germany, and detailing the ways in which an otherwise "good" man can be slowly seduced by dark forces. John Halder is a professor of literature. When he's not teaching, most of John's time is dedicated to looking after his neurotic wife, tending to the couple's two young children, and caring for his elderly mother, who suffers from senile dementia. Disheartened by his mother's downward spiral, John authors a novel supporting euthanasia for the terminally ill. Much to John's surprise, the Nazi party singles out his tome as the "way forward," and soon begins to heap flattery on the author in the form of glowing compliments and extravagant gifts. As a result, John finds himself making a variety of minor moral compromises that soon begin to snowball. As his moral compass becomes less and less reliable and music manifests in John's conscience at the most inopportune moments -- such as the time a Bavarian boy choir bursts in as he's attempting to seduce a young lover -- the author begins to question his own motivations while also taking pause to consult with his best friend, a Jewish psychoanalyst named Maurice (Jason Isaacs). Unfortunately for Maurice, the situation is quickly worsening for the Jews of Germany as John continues his ascent in the party ranks. While John does everything within his power to save Maurice, the risks involved in truly removing his old friend from harm's way may already be too great for the morally compromised author to consider. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
June 28, 2011
Viggo is an amazing actor, and this subject is definitely my favorite subject. But, for some reason, this movie just didn't hit the the right notes for me. Really slow. Rather confusing (at least to me). A decent idea with not much substance, in my opinion.
May 7, 2011
I was extremely dissappointed by this film. It lacked an edge to it. It just seemed like I was following this random guys life during a difficult period in his country. It showed a lot about character and how normal innocent people of Germany really didn't know what was going on. The ending was atrocious and so dissatisfying. Great performances and a cast that should have made this film much better.
October 22, 2010
While there were many problems with the film, I have to like it because it affected me so much. Excellent cast makes it better, but I will agree that it lacked structure and conviction. I always enjoy a fresh look at WWII era, and the perspective of a good German caught up in the times is always welcome. I appreciated what I at least interpretted as the the message of the movie: that amidst all the horrors in these times, no matter how much any of us lie to ourselves that what we are doing is okay and right, it is so far from the humanity inside us that the guy was seeing beauty in the form of music in the most horrible of places.
October 22, 2009
Despite its admirable intentions, it lacks enough dramatic power and strength in its intended message about evil and conformity - and Mortensen's unconvincing performance doesn't do much either.
fb584658586November 25, 2013
Lots of people in this world will shy away from Nazis in any way, shape or form. I however have no qualms about taboo. I'll be sensitive to people who might be offended by the topic, but I'm also okay with admitting to people that I think the SS had style, or stating things like the fact the the Nazi elite refused to build a nuclear weapon because they considered the devastation it would bring to be too "evil", and the US were very happy to go ahead with it. So taking as unbiased a view as I can, I'll be reviewing the few Nazi-themed films I've got, starting with Good.
The film is the tale of middle-aged academic, John Halder (Viggo Mortensen; The Road, A History of Violence, the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1998's Psycho, The Prophecy, Leatherace: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) whom is swept up in the overwhelming changes going on in Germany during the late 1930's. I say "swept up" in as un-cliched a manner as I can. It really is the best way I can think to describe the goings on.
Halder lives two lives, the first, is the life he begins with, and the life that he thinks he deserves. In this life, he is a professor with no prospects of improving his career, his neurotic wife expects him to do everything, including taking care of their squabbling and inattentive children, and Halder's mother, a decrepit, sickly and senile old woman, who dedicates what's left of her life to making Halder feel miserable. His father in low is a prominent member of the NSDAP who walks all over Halder at every possible opportunity.
He then begins for himself a second life, he absconds with one of his young Aryan students to a flat in the city, after writing a novel which captures the attention of the Nazi elite, who are determined to have him become an honorary member of the party, with or without his approval. Being in the SS allows Halder to become the head of his department at the University, he is given a brilliant house and a great paycheck, he can afford to move his domineering mother out to the country and hire her a full time maid, his children are only around on weekends, and they're ever so proud. There's just this teeeeeny tiny problem. His one and only friend is Jewish. Yeah... So that's awkward.
I think what I like most about Good is that it's not about how every German during the WWII era was inherently evil. There were a lot of people there who did a lot of fucked up things, but they're all still human, making a generalisation that at the time all Germans were scum interested in nothing but their own personal gain because some of them saw all non-Germans as scum and they were interested in nothing but their own personal gain, is... Well I'm sure you get the picture. Halder never once defends his actions, although, that's rather an interesting point. When his Jewish friend finds out he's been promoted, he automatically assumes that Halder joined the NSDAP, and rather than explain he's been made an honorary member of the SS against his will, and never actually signed up, he just tells his friend that if he cares so much he could always leave Germany.
This brings me to my problems with Good. The above being the first of them. I also find int bizarre that films like Good and Valkyrie as well as many others, choose to use British actors as their German Third Reich. I get that many Germans are adversed to acting in films about WWII, plus there's the whole language barrier thing, but when you've decided your Germans aren't going to speak German, why deem it necessary they speak the Queen's English? I mean, they were enemies in the war after all! You could give them any bloody accent you pleased! Also on the first watch through, this constant jumping back and forth through time that Good goes through can become all rather confusing. Such is life when making a movie based on a stage-play, these sorts of things often do get lost in translation. And I did find that on my second viewing it was all rather easy to follow. Also the whole internal conflict of Halder, what with the music, and... oh, I shan't go on, mustn't ruin these sorts of things. Suffice to say it's all a bit odd.
I would never go so far as to call the film light hearted, but there are certain moments of what you might call humour. Intentional or not I can't decide, but when the rank and file soldiers stand about like those British guards with the funny hats, all not reacting and stuff, kinda funny. Oh! And the best bit, Mark Strong has a supporting role (Mark Strong's fucking awesome by the way, I was very pleased to see him in this, he plays, in uh, Robin Hood, Kick-Ass, Sherlock Holmes, RocknRolla, Sunshine and mother fucking Revolver! Which is quite the repertoire) where he asks Halder to work for the Nazis to make "The case for an enlightened approach to mercy death on the grounds of humanity", which is just fucking hilarious to here come from the mouth of the Reichchancellory.
Speaking of supporting roles, there's another by Steven Mackintosh (from Underworld: Evolutions, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Aryan Couple,The Bill and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) as a Sturmbannführer, and he's always cool, so that went a ways to helping the film along, in my opinion.
Finally, there's this continuous shot through the a "Death Camp" (I use the term loosely) that goes on for ages which is very reminiscent of that scene from Children of Men. People who've watched it will get what I mean. It's kind of a big deal, and it's all very fucking impressive.
All in all Good is exactly that. Not fantastic, not ground-breaking, it didn't change my life, it's not gonna hit my first rating above 9, it's just good. (Sorry for the lack of puns, I know there's a wealth of them for this film. Oh! And a little side-note, the tagline is "Anything that makes people happy can't be bad can it?"... How quaint).
January 3, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "Good," it is 1933 in Berlin where John Halder(Viggo Mortensen) not only has the responsibilities of being a literature professor but also the head of a contentious household that includes two children, his tubercular mother(Gemma Jones) and his neurotic wife Helen(Anastasia Hille). He now has the amorous attentions of a beautiful student, Ann(Jodie Whittaker), to distract him. No wonder he is in psychoanalysis with his best friend Maurice(Jason Isaacs). Through all of this, somehow he finds enough time to write a novel which in four years' time will come to the attention of the Nazi leadership because of its handling of euthanasia. Their only problem with him is that he is not yet a Party member.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Good" is about a Faustian bargain which is nothing new when it comes to the Nazis. In exchange for his soul, John loses his old problems and his old family, and gets a promotion and a beautiful young wife. What the Nazis get in return is an intellectual who is willing to promote ideas they agree with. All of which puts John's friendship with Maurice to the test which is the moral center of the movie. For that reason, the chemistry between Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs lifts the movie above the purely routine. [/font]
September 7, 2013
Good is yet another example of a stage-play that has a lot of interesting ideas, and ambitious themes, yet lacks the appropriate transition to film. Taking place in Nazi Germany, the film looks at a professor and his growing relationship with the regime, and the disenchantment that follows.
That the film features good performances is not in contention, with Viggo Mortensen having one of his better roles as of late, possessing the affable, yet reserved, charm that enables him to excel as a torn intellectual. The surrounding performances are also strong, especially form Jason Isaacs.
The problem comes with the script, it's simply not cinematic. Having lofty themes and commentary is laudable, but it must accompany a narrative that's compelling in order to constitute a film. Good has one, but only in a limited sense. The scope is too confined for a film, or at least one that requires more breathing room than what it received here. The characters are well played, yet characterized thinly, with the exception of Mortensen. We don't see enough of the inner-dynamics to truly care about them. Once more, the film is too predictable and one-note, seeming to ignore the more interesting aspects of the story. It treats its protagonist as naive, yet his actions seem nothing but self-serving. Had he be painted as more of an anti-hero, it would have been far more interesting. As it stands, Good is all too predictable and one-note, trying too hard to pull on our heartstrings, and not giving us enough to stay engaged. That, above all, is Good's greatest failing, too often coming across as boring.
An unfortunate misfire.
November 14, 2010
Such a sloooow movie....
November 28, 2013
The intentions of the movie are certainly good (pun intended), but it lacks the dramatic impact, and unconvincing performances make matters even worse.
August 13, 2012
Slow and subtle which may have hurt others opinions of this film given what movies have become. It tells the story it tells very well and is finely acted, in particular by Jason Isaacs who has fantastic intensity in his scenes that won me over on the film more than anything else.
jusstpeteMay 13, 2012
Morally speaking, everything about Good is tidily correct. But it is more a predictable parable than a full-fledged narrative.
June 30, 2011
This could have been a Great Movie, it was barely "Good".Am I to understand that his paper on Euthanasia was to Spark the Nazi's solution resulting with their Death Camp's? They don't come right out & say that, but it seems implied.Therein is one of the problems with this Movie, it doesn't really take a stand, & neither does he.He doesn't believe in the the Nazi Party, but becomes one of them.He is worried about his Jewish Best Friend, but makes little attempt to help him.He knows right from wrong, & see's what is about to happen, but cowardly blends in , not to rock the boat.Just as this Movie is starting to get good & show his Birds Eye View of the Holocaust, it abruptly ends.It could have really been a great Movie, but it left you empty
November 10, 2010
Writing a paper for the Nazi regime to show the humane side of what they were doing, what was the professor thinking?? I'm sure $$$ had a lot to do with it.