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Good (2008)

tomatometer

33

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 69
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 46

Though ambitious, Good stumbles in the transition from stage to screen, and Mortensen's performance isn't enough to cover its flaws.

33

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 12

Though ambitious, Good stumbles in the transition from stage to screen, and Mortensen's performance isn't enough to cover its flaws.

audience

32

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 41,506

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Drama

John Wrathall

May 1, 2009

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All Critics (71) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (46) | DVD (3)

By all accounts, Taylor's play was a more experimental piece than this film, in which the production values, like the acting, veer between the acceptable and the stodgy.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The subject -- self-deception and failure of nerve in an unjust world -- is too messy and horrible to laugh away.

January 20, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good contributes very little to a conundrum that has occupied historians and psychologists for half a century.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Good has a stagy fustiness, but it's worth seeing for Mortensen, who makes this study of 
 a 'good German' look creepily contemporary. He shows us the horror 
 of ignorance.

January 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Morally speaking, everything about Good is tidily correct. But it is more a predictable parable than a full-fledged narrative.

December 31, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are some striking locations and certainly the era continues to fascinate audiences (and, particularly this year, filmmakers). Too bad, then, that this is such a disappointment -- awkwardly directed and flatly scripted.

December 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bears a superficial resemblance to "The Conformist" and "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," with their sense of dreary complacency, oppressively museum-like spaces, and curiously drab natural settings, but ultimately "Good" is less evocative

August 8, 2009 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

A tale illustrating the banality of evil is as timely as ever but the execution is heavy-handed and even with location filming and elaborate sets it still feels very theatrical.

April 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Good isn't great. The film has a quality cast who turn in fine performances in a movie that aims to be profound but isn't.

April 21, 2009
Daily Record [UK]

Ultimately Good, like its central figure, seems to lack the courage of its convictions.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

A strong cast and good starting material doesn't manage to save this unsuccessful adaptation.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Not for the first time, great theatre makes for a merely adequate film.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's a thought-provoking theme, which is rather let down by a thoroughly unconvincingly turn from Mortensen.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

To its credit, Good is at least a piece with something serious to say, with little of the meretricious responsibility-deflecting that The Reader dealt in.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

We're gearing up for a clunker of a climax involving musically gifted interns at the world's sprucest concentration camp. Mortensen wears it well, but this feels like very old hat.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Good's attempts to diagnose the cancerous spread of Nazi influence through Germany's population in the mid-'30s is laudable, but despite Mortensen's stoic talents Halder is just too hollow a character for this to be anything other than a vapid parable.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The point is how does a "good" man get seduced by evil? Thing is, the movie's so muted and keeps viewers at such arm's length, you cease to wonder.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

It is a fine piece of acting from Mortensen, who portrays his character's weakness superbly. But Good sometimes lacks pace and direction. On balance this is an intelligent and sensitive approach to a very dark era of history.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

It may have been a good stage play: people say it was. But its author, the late C.P. Taylor, was not around to stop it becoming a lousy film.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Mortensen isn't bad, though he looks merely absent-minded rather than anguished.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

The original play, once dubbed one of the 100 best of the century, is fleshed out with skill by Amorim but somehow his film never comes fully to life. Even its melodramatic ending falls flat.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Despite strong performances and decent production design, Good lacks the emotional weight it needs to deliver the requisite punch. Disappointing.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Set in that weird film version of Nazi Germany full of RADA-trained Home Counties poshos, Good is, in a sense, an amazing achievement- it makes the Holocaust boring.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

There's probably a great film to be made about the way ordinary Germans succumbed to the allure of Nazism - but this weakly directed film, adapted from CP Taylor's acclaimed 1981 stage play, isn't it.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Scotsman

This isn't gritty realism; it's a morality tale, and it's made with quiet passion and real power

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Good

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.
June 28, 2011
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

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.
May 7, 2011
StarCrossedVoyager

Super Reviewer

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, 2010
puffchunk
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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.
October 22, 2009
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

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