Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Review: Good

Austrian Director Vicente Amorim brings us Good, based on a play by C.P. Taylor, which professes to answer the question of how a good man can do bad things. That premise reminded me of one of my favorite movies, A Simple Plan, though this film promised to be on a larger scale.

Viggo Mortensen plays Halder, a professor at a German university in 1938. He is a quiet man who goes about his teaching, writes an occasional novel, deals with the nutty wife, a screaming child, and a nagging and bedridden mother. His best friend Maurice is a psychoanalyst who occasionally lends his couch to Halder. More important to the story, Maurice is a Jew.

When the Nazis asks Halder to write a paper in support of euthanasia (ask me my favorite joke on this subject sometime - I promise you'll be disappointed), Halder is honored to receive attention from someone in such a high post in the government and agrees. One catch, he finds, is that he must join the Nazi party. He agrees, which is a slap in the face to Maurice, though Halder reasons that it's not like anybody's talking about hauling away all the Jews.

Next, they haul away all the Jews. If you feel like I've given away the plot here, then you failed Junior High history class, or at least you should have. Anyway, it at least appears you can read, so well done there. Halder does try to help Maurice, even if it wasn't a grandiose effort. I mean, he was momentarily distracted by his mother's attempted suicide and all, so it wasn't like he was just loafing around. He fails, with some help it turns out, and then sets out to find his friend.

Well, I guess it was well done, but I just really didn't like the characters enough. And the whole thing with all the Germans running around talking in English accents really threw me for a loop. I'm sorry, but saying "Heil, Hitler" in a typicaqlly apologetic English cadence just doesn't carry the same effect. I felt sorry for Maurice, but not much for anyone else. My imdb rating: 6/10.

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