Sunday, April 01, 2007

Good Film See - You Look Look Now!

American films are funny things, aren't they? It used to be full of guys like Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant swanning around smoky cocktail bars, muttering pleasantries to one another with implicit threats. By the 1980s or so it had turned into characters making explicit threats in order to make implicit threats, and in the 90s the implicit threats were made by the characters breaking chairs over one another's back. A clear evolutionary line can therefore be traced from Humphrey Bogart muttering pleasantries to Cary Grant, and some guy breaking a chair over another's back. But it still makes you feel a little nostalgic for the old days.

Which is why it was nice tonight to see a film with a little more sophistication than most of the current Hollywood crop. The Good German stars Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, and Toby Maguire. Just to make myself clear, you do get to see people break chairs over George Clooney's back. They also punch him in the face, kick him in the guts, beat him about the head with sticks, throw him onto the floor, and shoot at him. But all this is a mere entertainment; there's nothing implicit in any of this. It's good, clean, gratuitous violence, and made even better by the fact that it's happening to George Clooney.

The rest of the film is quite fun, too, with a labyrinthine plot involving a murder investigation, a lost Nazi, several unscrupulous Berlin whores, a number of references to Casablanca, historical references to the de-Nazification of Germany following the 2nd World War, and apparently Jack Thompson's in there too.

Naturally, I couldn't follow any of it, but the music was rather good, I rather enjoyed myself, and in the end, I walked out saying, 'Gosh! If I wrote a list of the best and worst films that I've seen this year, that will certainly be one of them!'

The Good German:

I have no idea what it was about, but a few people die, the dialogue is impeccable, the characters are interesting, and occasionally they start breaking chairs over one another's backs, especially if one of the anothers is George Clooney. Four Stars from me, Margaret.


Karen said...

I wanted to see that and now I can't, because I don't think I could stand to see harm come to George Clooney!

TimT said...

Maybe they should have had a disclaimer at the end of the production: 'No George Clooneys were harmed during the making of this movie.' Apparently several members of the Society for the Protection of George Clooney (SPGC) were present on set during filming. It is a good film, and a rather surprising one in some ways - surprising for me, at least, because I thought I was going to see an entirely different German-language film, but it turns out I had stupidly mixed up the titles and got a ticket to this one instead!

Karen said...

Oh well, if no George Clooneys are really harmed then I might just be able to watch. I did see no George Clooneys being harmed when George Clooney had his fingernails ripped off in "Syrianna" and emerged from the experience unscathed.
I was going to see "Becoming Jane" today, but it really is Cheap Tuesday fare, isn't it? Although it may make me as pleasantly outraged as the Keira Knightley P & P, which I was ripping to bits for at least a week afterwards.

TimT said...

Fingernails ripped off, you say? 'Syriana', it was called? How intriguing...

The more I hear about 'Becoming Jane', the less I like. I'll probably give that one a miss. Haven't seen the Keira Knightley P & P, though what with all the Austen adaptations flying around, I'm crossing my fingers for the day an Ann Radcliffe adaptation, "THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO" is announced. I will accept no substitutes! Not even Northanger Abbey!

(Word verification code is like a line from 'Old McDonald Had a Farm' - 'aeaeo')

Karen said...

Yes, it's a torture scene. The movie is about oil politics. You have to pay close attention right from the beginning or you lose the plot.
I actually have quite a strong stomach, I think. I watched poor Adrien Brody being chased by dinosaurs and didn't faint either!
I would also be keen for an Udolpho adaptation, but fear it will not happen. The film makers don't seem to have the imagination to move beyond Austen. I suppose you need the clear romance plot. What everyone really needs is The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: The Movie, don't you think? But then I was so excited when I saw Winterbottom had done Tristram Shandy and it was actually pretty disappointing.
I hate word verifications, because I always get them wrong (don't ask).
Ha! I jinxed myself and got it wrong! Ha! Got it wrong a second time!

Caz said...

"George Clooney had his fingernails ripped off in "Syrianna" and emerged from the experience unscathed."

Which was great, because he was happy and intact just in time to be blown to pieces right at the end.

Ooops, my bad.

Should I have put a *spoiler* warning up front?

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