Good (2008) 720p

Movie Poster
Good (2008) - Movie Poster
Drama | Romance
Frame Rate:
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS
Run Time:
96 min
IMDB Rating:
6.2 / 10 
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Directors: Vicente Amorim [Director] ,

Movie Description:
John Halder is a 'good' and decent individual with family problems: a neurotic wife, two demanding children and a mother suffering from senile dementia. A literary professor, Halder explores his personal circumstances in a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia. When the book is unexpectedly enlisted by powerful political figures in support of government propaganda, Halder finds his career rising in an optimistic current of nationalism and prosperity. Seemingly inconsequential decisions lead to choices, which lead to more choices... with eventually devastating effect.


  • Good (2008) - Movie Scene 1
  • Good (2008) - Movie Scene 2
  • Good (2008) - Movie Scene 1

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Wait... a Nazi/war movie without any violence??

If you're looking for a war flick with a lot of action, artillery and things blowing up, you might want to move on. "Good" is a slow moving, subtle, intellectual film that may bore many filmgoers, but if you're looking for more than the typical Hollywood action/war flick then definitely check this one out.

A reasonably faithful adaptation of the famous 1981 play (using much of the same dialogue, scenes and characterizations), this film is about an honest, moral, "good" family man who gets passively caught up in the pro-Nazi movement. All the while, he denies culpability and defends his moral fiber by writing off the movement as a passing phase that's no big deal, but gradually his involvement deepens to the point that he's materially assisting in the worst atrocities that humans have ever committed against one another. For this, the film is deliberately slow because that's the point it's making: that the conversion from "good" to "evil" is not a sudden snap like getting bitten by a vampire and turning into one overnight. Rather, it's a very imperceptible shift that's akin to starting a temp job in the mail room and slowly working your way up the ladder to the executive board before you've realized that you've sold your soul to the corporation.

Viggo Mortensen plays "Halder", a college professor who hates the Nazi party but reluctantly agrees to write a paper for them because he needs the money. Perfectly acceptable choice, right? Well, this leads to another choice which is equally understandable. Then another and another. His Jewish best friend "Maurice" (Jason Isaacs) is the voice of reason, warning him quite forcefully about the seduction of the Nazi party, but like a worsening drug addict, Halder insists that he's doing nothing wrong and he's in control of his moral fiber. At the same time there's another seduction going on: a pretty young student of his (Jodie Whittaker) is slowly drawing Halder away from his wife & family. The story keeps building momentum, and as an added surreal element, Halder begins having hallucinations of strangers singing different Mahler pieces.

The acting is fantastic, not just Viggo's performance but particularly Jason Isaac's portrayal of the friend. The two of them have some great dialogues, and the dynamic of their relationship is really interesting to watch as it changes. This also leads to a very powerful climax at the end of the film.

Far more than a war flick or even a historical piece, "Good" is a powerful, realistic explanation of human nature and how good people can do bad things. And it doesn't matter how moral we may feel about ourselves and our life choices, I guarantee that each of us is at some level guilty of the same insidious hypocrisy shown here. If you accept this and take a sober look at your own life, then this film may make you a better person.

"Good" is one of those films that will sit in your mind for a long time afterwards. I can't think of too many movies that compare, but the pacing and slow buildup to a stunning conclusion remind me of the classics "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold" (1965), or even "Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). If you're looking for other unusual spins on the holocaust, look for the Czech film "Protektor" (2009) or the Italian feel-good holocaust flick (huh?) "Life is Beautiful" (1997). And if you really want your mind blown about human nature, Naziism and the power of authority to turn normal people into killers, go to YouTube and watch the 1962 documentary "The Stanley Milgram Experiment".

No sense of time or culture

The over-long haircuts of the men, the unkempt hairstyles of some of the women, the non-period clothes, the lack of formal manners... Not for a second could I believe this was Germany in the 1930s.

To make matters worse there is the casual manner of speech and the lack of any attempt to pronounce German names in anything like the correct pronunciation.

Example: a young female student with her hair hanging down to her shoulders any old how, with the demeanour of a student of the 21st century, comes to Viggo Mortensen's office door, looks inside and introduces herself in a very nonchalant manner, "I'm Anne..." Even in the Germany of today this would inappropriate, let alone in pre-war days.

What was the writer thinking? What was the director thinking?


Perhaps a little "artsy-dartsy", yes. But this is still a very compelling film that shows the many shades of grey that existed between the black and the white of most war movies. It's the story of a typical German --- a young professor --- who gets swept up in events as he goes along to get along. He sees Nazism as a temporary aberration and even believes he can have a positive influence on it but gets swept up in the movement without really believing in it. Life could be good in Germany before the war if you were not Jewish and were a Nazi or at least appeared to be one. Thus are Professor John Holden and his Jewish friend and fellow world war veteran Maurice caught in the vortex. There are a few extraneous lines in the plot: Holden's senile mother, his failed marriage and the reason for it. They don't seem to serve any purpose other than to add some flesh to a fairly skinny plot. But nevertheless it is both a powerful, well performed drama and a very different glimpse into the everyday life of Nazi Germany before the war.
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