Berlin, 1945. U.S. war correspondent Jake Geismer (GEORGE CLOONEY) has just arrived to cover the upcoming Potsdam Peace Conference, where Allied leaders will meet to determine the fate of a vanquished Germany and a newly liberated Europe and, in the process, carve up whats left of any value for themselves. Its not Jakes first visit to Berlin. He once managed a news bureau here. He once fell in love here. But that seems a lifetime ago as he takes in the staggering devastation on the jeep ride from the airport to his hotel in the American zone.Jakes driver, Corporal Tully (TOBEY MAGUIRE), exudes small-town American charm an eager, guileless, good-natured kid from the Midwest. In reality, hes corrupt to the core, bartering anything and anyone, and playing all sides for the highest price. But thats not unusual. Everyone in Berlin has a secret now. Everyone is working an angle to get what they need: money, power, survival or just a way out.Tullys black market dealings dont interest Jake, but Tullys girlfriend does. Shes Lena Brandt (CATE BLANCHETT), Jakes former love, although somehow, now, not quite the person he once knew. She has been irrevocably changed by the war, the hardship of life in this ruined city and the burden of her own secrets. When Tully ends up in the Russian zone with 100,000 marks in his pocket and a bullet in his back, Jake finds himself drawn into the mystery of this murder, and the bigger mystery of why both the American and Russian authorities look the other way.The deeper his investigation takes him, the more it leads him back to Lena. Jake discovers that it is nearly impossible to unearth the truth in a time and place where people are still reeling from the horrors of the war and desperate to salvage their humanity in the shadow of the often unbearable knowledge of what they did to survive.Based on the novel by Joseph Kanon and directed by Steven Soderbergh, The Good German is a mystery, a romance and a thriller in the classic film noir tradition, its intimate human dramas playing out against the turbulence of political intrigue on a grand scale. Not only set in 1945, but crafted in the filmmaking techniques of that era, it blends a contemporary sensibility with the distinctive mood and style of movies that stirred the imaginations of post-war audiences.
In a story where peoples histories and motives are often shrouded in doubt, there is perhaps nothing better than a black-and-white palette to expose the shades of gray. You should never have come back to Berlin, Lena tells Jake. It might be the only thing she tells him that is not a lie.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Virtual Studios, a Section Eight Production: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire starring in The Good German. Directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay by Paul Attanasio, based on the novel by Joseph Kanon, The Good German is produced by Ben Cosgrove and Gregory Jacobs. Benjamin Waisbren and Frederic W. Brost serve as executive producers. Philip Messina is the production designer, and Louise Frogley, the costume designer. Music is by Thomas Newman. Casting is by Debra Zane. The Good German