About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Studios Home
May 2007


By Kam Williams


Cast: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Tobey Maguire, Leland Orser, Beau Bridges, Tony Curran
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Format: AC-3, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: In black & white, and in English, German and Russian with subtitles.
Region: Unknown. Read more about region encoding and how it may affect you here.
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
Run Time: 107 minutes

DVD Features:
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)



Soderbergh Psychological Thriller Set in Post-WWII Germany Out on DVD

It is Berlin, 1945. The action in the Pacific Theater is winding down, and the leaders of the Allied Forces, Truman, Churchill and Stalin, are convening at the Potsdam Conference in order to divvy up the spoils of Europe. Captain Jake Geismer (George Clooney), an American war correspondent, has just arrived to cover the historic event. However, he secretly also hopes to reunite with Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett), the German woman with whom he had shared a torrid love affair when he was stationed in Berlin before the outbreak of war. The femme fatale had worked as his stringer, even though her husband not only was a Nazi but a member of the SS.

It doesn’t take long to track Lena down, because she just happens to be involved with his driver, Patrick Tully (Tobey Maguire), a PFC who isn’t long for this world. After Tully turns up dead, it becomes apparent that he was the victim of foul play, and that Jake had better watch his back, too. For with the dawn of the Cold War, this is a world already awash with double-agents, double-crossings and double-dealings, given that the parties to the peace treaty are already anticipating the nuclear arms race and jockeying to siphon the best German scientists to their side. And the plot further thickens when bad things happen to "The Good German." As intriguing as this fact pattern might sound, unfortunately, the execution fails to live up to its promising premise. The picture was directed by Steven Soderbergh who paid more attention to perfecting the ambience of his black & white neo-noir, than delivering a whodunit of much consequence.

The tip-off that this is intended to be taken as a tongue-in-cheek homage comes as the closing credits roll, when a familiar tableau might cause you to confuse this flick with Casablanca. Except instead of Paris, it’s ”We’ll all always have Potsdam.”