Director Steven Soderbergh is a great director willing to take great risks. When they work(KING OF THE HILL), it can make a viewer feel like they're falling in love with films for the first time. But, when they fail(SOLARIS), it leaves the viewer scratching their head, wondering what went wrong, and why didn't the director figure it out first? Soderbergh's "THE GOOD GERMAN" is somewhere in between a very good film and a failure. He achieves the gritty yet stylized '40s look he sought after, utilizing actual cameras from that era, and there's something quite remarkable about seeing and hearing characters in a period film curse and behave in ways that traditionally wouldn't have happened in a film of that era, making it feel groundbreaking at times, and very realistic. Unfortunately, as the plot thickens, it becomes cumbersome, and everything that's happening feels like the director's winking to the viewer "it's ok., don't judge it for substance, only for the feel I was trying to achieve." Substance does matter and the "revelation" at the film's end, explaining the "dark" secret behind a major character's situation, feels wholly anti-climatic.
Set immediately after WW2, around the Potsdam conference, Clooney plays a correspondent returning to Germany to cover how the world will be affected by the soon to be divided Germany. His driver, Tobey Maguire, is involved in the black market and much more. Maguire's lover, Cate Blanchett, is the former lover of Clooney. She's now married to an SS Officer sought by the Allies and Russians for his knowledge of rockets and other scientific matters. Murders begin to happen and deeper mysteries come to light, but not after various sequences that play like a grand homage to some of the better, earlier black&white films that impressed Soderbergh.
WARNER BROS. has provided a full-frame ratio for this release, achieving an image more alike what the typical '40s film it aspires to represent, looked like. The 1.85:1 theatrical ratio appears to have been a soft matte, so nothing is lost in this transfer. The blacks are deep and the whites intentionally pushed to the limits, providing a sensational, effective black&white homage to the era of classic films. Detail is impressive throughout. Even darker scenes provide great clarity.
WARNER BROS has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. There are a surprising amount of surround effects and the score is terrific. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
Unfortunately, except for some trailers, there are no extras.