Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 34
  2. Negative: 5 out of 34
Watch On
  1. 88
    This is Soderbergh's show, and a haunting and hypnotic show it is.
  2. 83
    With a few self-conscious exceptions, Soderbergh makes an earnest attempt to return to that place and time in both history and American filmmaking, and his risk-taking pays fascinating dividends.
  3. Blanchett gets everything right -- the accent, her German dialogue, the weary sexuality (deliberately reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich) and the amorality her character has embraced.
  4. 75
    While Clooney and especially Blanchett give solid performances, and McGuire plays effectively against type, the movie is best appreciated as an exercise in vintage Hollywood style.
  5. The leisure-time viewer will say, ''Hey, this is sort of like "Casablanca," so why play it again?''
  6. 70
    Set in postwar Berlin, the story involves prostitution, black marketeering, and the death camps, and the tension between the visual style and the adult story makes the movie pretty engrossing -- it's an R-rated "Casablanca."
  7. 70
    Sumptuous, clever and cold.
  8. 63
    But for all the profane language and sexual frankness, Soderbergh's film is no more cynical or world-weary than its inspirations, and in the end, it feels like a clever trick wrapped around a hollow center.
  9. Here's what's good about The Good German: The look is fantastic; technically, the movie is a retro marvel. Here's what's bad: The script sucks; it keeps promising to be clever, engaging, subtle and completely fails to deliver.
  10. 63
    The Good German, Steven Soderbergh's film noir homage, is nearly perfect when it comes to style and tone, but it concentrates so single-mindedly on the mechanics of the narrative that it loses sight of its characters.
  11. Reviewed by: Mark Bell
    Overall, while the film is a gorgeous, nostalgic cinema experience, and there's definitely a multiple of mini-plots to unravel while you work towards the final resolution, the film comes up as a bit of a dud.
  12. The Good German is a prime example of a movie made by highly skilled and intelligent filmmakers that nevertheless seems misguided from the get-go.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Soderbergh's homage to film noir and wartime thrillers, is technically stunning but narratively and thematically hollow.
  14. It does get mired in its obsession with its own style.
  15. If you feel anything other than admiration for its craftsmanship, let me know; The Good German is as emotionally cold and unconvincing as any movie I've seen this year.
  16. Of The Good German, it can be said that the operation was a brilliant success, even if the patient is not merely dead but most sincerely dead. The movie, in other words, lies there as if on a slab in a morgue, while you admire the corpse for its beauty.
  17. 50
    Fascinating in concept but a disaster in execution.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    For actor and director, the project seems like trying on a new coat, and it doesn't fit either of them.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Soderbergh doesn't miss a trick, and for a while it's fun for us to share in his fun. But there comes a moment when his Euro-noir film turns into another sort of exercise for the audience: an exercise in boredom.
  20. Steven Soderbergh is usually an inspired chameleon, perfectly suiting his style to his content. But The Good German is an ambitious miss...It's all very beautiful, high-minded, and remote.
  21. 50
    How, then, does The Good German--adapted by Paul Attanasio from Joseph Kanon's novel--wind up so insubstantial, its impact lasting no longer than a cigarette?
  22. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Attempting a frame-by-frame duplication of Warner Bros. '40s filmmaking--even the extroverted acting style apes the period--Soderbergh has produced a movie so self-conscious that it's drained of all life.
  23. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    I hold Soderbergh in high esteem, but as handsome a technical achievement as it is, The Good German plays to me as a failed experiment.
  24. Far from the worst movie of 2006, but it may be the most disappointing. It should have been wonderful -- a delicious tribute to classic Hollywood -- but it simply doesn't come off.
  25. In his genre pastiche The Good German, Steven Soderbergh has tried to resurrect the magic of classical Hollywood, principally by sucking out all the air, energy and pleasure from his own filmmaking.
  26. Steven Soderbergh's new film is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside a perversity. The puzzle is Mr. Soderbergh's approach to what might have been an intriguing experiment, rather than the off-putting one it turned out to be.
  27. I could have managed to bear all the film's shortcomings if it weren't for Clooney. Where was he during the making of this film? His face is there, he knows his lines, he moves as needed, but any traces of the intelligence and rapport, the subtlety and understanding, that have marked his best work are excruciatingly missing. Clooney behaves as if he discovered after he had committed to the film that he really didn't like the script as much as he thought he did but would go through with it anyway. The result is puppetry.
  28. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    This should have been Soderbergh gold. Instead it is mostly unengaging and dull, proof positive that they don't make them like they used to.
  29. 40
    However flavorsome though, The Good German is seriously deficient in the stars' star power and narrative excitement. The movie is lovingly framed, carefully lit, and fatally insipid. The direction is slack; the pacing is perfunctory.
  30. The Good German is just stiff. When Soderbergh tries one of those patented swoop-in-on-the-diagonal moves at a key dramatic moment, the effect is comic. And at that precise moment, the story starts dying a slow, oxygen-deprived death.
  31. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    There's a great movie somewhere in The Good German, but it's buried under three tons of run-amok formalism.
  32. Tobey Maguire, terribly miscast and squeaky (that voice - it belongs to a kid!).
  33. 30
    With The Good German, Soderbergh -- generally a terrific and creative filmmaker -- apes a style, and a way of seeing, that he clearly doesn't understand. It feels like a hit to the stomach.
  34. Blanchett's performance is Soderbergh's biggest mistake. He either encourages or permits her to play Lena as a Greta Garbo caricature, which is mildly amusing if you're interested in Garbo, but if you're interested in Lena and The Good German, you're out of luck.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 7 out of 16
  1. DaveA.
    Dec 18, 2006
    Taking a break from his either commercially successful or critically acclaimed filmmaking, soderbergh does something only a filmmaker as Taking a break from his either commercially successful or critically acclaimed filmmaking, soderbergh does something only a filmmaker as successful, versatile, and talented is allowed to do: make something totally self-indulgent. It's pretty clear that everybody on this film had a great time making it. And as soon as you buy into the style, there's no reason you can't have a great time watching it. And by the way, Cate blanchett is a goddess. Full Review »
  2. Aug 11, 2013
    I could not believe after watching this awful self indulgent load of rubbish that I had actually guessed the outcome in the first twentyI could not believe after watching this awful self indulgent load of rubbish that I had actually guessed the outcome in the first twenty minutes. And the end, my god, Casablanca? Did the writers of this film have any clue that the script was such a lemon? Dreadful Dreadful Dreadful. All the actors however were brilliant, loved them all. Sad the film had such a dud story. Full Review »
  3. WilfO.
    Aug 3, 2009
    After reading the novel the film was nothing but a complete disappointment.