The Good German centers around a German Jewish woman who also happens to be the wife of a SS man. Due to the postwar destruction of Germany, she has to sell her enticing goods to U.S. troops to survive. A variety of men become obsessed with her and quickly decide they will do anything for her including putting their lives on the line. George Clooney (who I have always hated) stars as an American journalist who does anything to save the woman.
The Good German was filmed in aesthetically pleasing black and white with various real postwar footage scattered throughout. Steven Soderbergh almost perfectly captures the essence and power of Film Noir cinema of past generations. The Good German is more of a tribute to early film noir than it is a Neo Noir. The films poster art also takes cues from that of Casablanca (which is much more a romance film than film noir). The end of the film is also blatant tribute to the Hollywood centerpiece.
The Good German was also inspired by Nazi SS scientist Wernher Von Braun. The actual “good” German in the film is an associate of a SS scientist responsible for inventing special rockets. He's also the husband of the German Jewish prostitute that has caught George Clooney’s fancy. Nazi SS scientist Wernher von Braun was primarily responsible for the U.S. landing on the moon. He also was known for employing slave labor during his Nazi years.
The Good German is a slick, thrilling, and engulfing film from the most interesting part of history during the last century. It is also a worthy tribute to the original film noir era. I honestly had low expectations for the film originally and now I am considering revisiting Soderbergh’s lexicon. I just hope that Soderbergh believes that there’s more than one “good” German.