The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
We get no heroes, not even flawed ones. Clooney, our marquee man, chases through numbing plot contortions only because of his lust for Lena. By the time The Good German ended, I had barely a clue if the good ones had lived or died.
The Good German is a movie wonk's triumph and no one else's. Soderbergh gets the visuals right but not the clean storytelling line of classic cinema, nor the iconic characters or moral certainty of the oldies.
The photography is so beautiful, and the actors make brave choices, and Soderbergh's homage to the films he so obviously loves is done with such grace and passion -- so there's just enough that works to outweigh the major plot concerns.
It works, as homage to a particular time and place in film history, and as a knowing revision that brings Hollywood's subtext of '40s postwar corruption to the surface. The Good German isn't so much an imitation as a crafty modernization.
The Good German doesn't look like a period movie, and it doesn't feel like one. The black-and-white images are thin and garish, with blinding whites that destroy whatever Soderbergh is trying to do with shadow and contrast.
The crucial key elements that every vintage Warners film had as a matter of course are lacking here. The story isn't gripping or even coherent. There is no real romance. There's mystery, but only in a plot sense -- i.e., what's going on?
In a few quick strokes, Soderbergh and screenwriter Paul Attanasio (working from a novel by Joseph Kanon) sketch a convincing scenario in which it is technically not possible for the good guys to win a war because good guys don't fight them.
A few of Soderbergh's movies have foundered on a similar ironic detachment. The singular exception, Out of Sight, floated along on sexual electricity and warm movie love, but The Good German feels passionless, throttled by technique.
The Good German, Steven Soderbergh's film noir homage, is nearly perfect when it comes to style and tone, but it concentrates so single-mindedly on the mechanics of the narrative that it loses sight of its characters.
Soderbergh, screenwriter Paul Attanasio and their colleagues get much of the mood and atmosphere down, but they fail -- or chose not to try -- to emulate the sense of wily playfulness that made old film-noir characters so rich and engaging.