Good German, The (2006, USA/GER) B&W-107m. ** D: Steven Soderbergh. Starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Beau Bridges, Leland Orser, Tony Curran, Christian Oliver. Crime drama set in 1945 Berlin. The war has just ended and reporter Clooney is called to the Allied conference in Potsdam, where Berlin and Europe's fate will be decided. Then he gets mixed up in the disappearance of a mathematician and the appearance of his wife Blanchett, who once had an affair with Clooney and now wants to flee the country. Drama with atmospheric CASABLANCA-like stylistics (in black-and-white, no less) undermines itself with its vague plot, which includes some odd comic bits and exaggerated violence. Aspect ratio of 1.37 : 1 retains the old pre-1950s cinema format.

© Ron Altman