Monday, June 29, 2009

Movie Review: Good

You may remember me calling this movie the "Best Movie Nobody Saw" last year, without actually having seen it. I finally had the opportunity a month ago, and I figured I owed to you guys to review it. Good is based on a stage play by C. P. Taylor, and it tells the story of John Halder (Viggo Mortensen), a German college professor during the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. He opposes the ideas of the Nazis, especially because his best friend Maurice (Jason Isaacs) is Jewish. He is convinced the the Nazis will never last, and it will all be over soon. However, and Hitler grows more powerful and pressure grows for Halder to join the Nazi Party. His job is in danger, his books are being burned, and his sick mother is near suicidal. Eventually he gives in and joins up, moving up in the ranks. However, when Hitler begins rounding the Jews, Halder must risked everything to save his friend, who already feels betrayed by him.

The Pros: After doing my research on this film, I'm not sure I fully understand it as well as I thought I did upon first viewing. The tagline "Anything that makes people happy can't be bad, can it?" led to to believe it was an anti-fascism statement, and seeing the film itself only served to reinforce that. As I said before "People see fascism as the stereotypical black clad stormtroopers policing the streets and herding helpless civilians like they were cattle, like we've seen in the movies. Fascism is an attractive thing. It promises us peace, and for some it delivers. That's why it's so dangerous. If it looked like Darth Vader, who would go for it?"

However, the people who were involved in the making of this film have lead me to consider that I may be misinterpreting the films intentions. Viggo Mortensen is an outspoken liberal, and C. P. Taylor was a known socialist who often drew from that when writing his plays. I find in hard to believe that he would right a story that condemns his own personal beliefs, as this film seems too.

But regardless of what it's message is, Good is still very, well good (sorry, I had to make that joke). Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs are excellent as usual. You can truly feel the emotional conflict within Halder, and we understand him enough so that we don't completely hate him when he chickens out and joins the dark side. Jason Isaacs character by be rather unforgiving an dogmatic at times, but he's still admirable, and he truly want him to escape an survive. We simpathize with his plight and his determination not to be driven from him home. And the ending is truly haunting. However you chose to interpret this film, it will be forever burned in your memory.

The Cons: This film definitely has is pacing problems. Having Viggo in virtually every scene helps, but there's no denying that there are more than a few scenes a story elements that felt unnecessary to the main plot. This is especially clear in the final scene, where the film just sort of stutters and dies instead of simply ending. It feels like the movie is already over, and the characters are just wandering around waiting for the credits to role.

The End: Admittedly, this movie wasn't quite as good as I imagined but still a well made film, and certainly deserving of more attention than it got. To me, any film that gets you to think is a success, especially in the film industry today.

Overall, I give Good a Silver Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official website for Good.

1 comment:

Alez said...

Hi Joshua...

i like very much your critic about these movie!!

sds! from Arg!(