6.2/10
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45 user 70 critic

Good (2008)

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John Halder, a German literature professor in the 1930s, is initially reluctant to accept the ideas of the Nazi Party. He is pulled in different emotional directions by his wife, mother, mistress and Jewish friend.

Director:

Vicente Amorim

Writers:

C.P. Taylor (stage play), John Wrathall (screenplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Viggo Mortensen ... Halder
Jason Isaacs ... Maurice
Jodie Whittaker ... Anne
Steven Mackintosh ... Freddie
Mark Strong ... Bouhler
Gemma Jones ... Mother
Anastasia Hille ... Helen
Ruth Gemmell ... Elisabeth
Ralph Riach Ralph Riach ... Brunau
Steven Elder ... Eichmann
Kevin Doyle ... Commandant
David de Keyser David de Keyser ... Mandelstam
Guy Henry ... Doctor
Adrian Schiller ... Goebbels
Rick Warden ... Brownshirt
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Anything that makes people happy can't be bad, can it?

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Hungary | Cayman Islands

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

11 December 2008 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

El principio del mal See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,508, 4 January 2009

Gross USA:

$23,091
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adolf Hitler fought in the First World War in the 16th Reserve Regiment of the Bavarian Army. The regiment was later renamed the List Regiment in honour of its late CO. He was promoted to Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) and was a regimental message-runner. These facts support Maurice's amusing fantasy of having given Hitler an order during the war (and being saluted in return). See more »

Goofs

In the scene, when Halder takes a walk with his ex-wife in the cemetery, which is supposed to be in Berlin, Germany, Hungarian names are clearly visible on the gravestones. See more »

Quotes

[Freddie has just received his Kristallnacht orders]
Elisabeth: You didn't say where you were going, Freddie.
Freddie: Oh, I've got to burn down a few synagogues. I could be all night!
Anne: You said they'd stopped all that that stuff with the Jews.
Halder: Yes, that's what I thought.
Elisabeth: You're not really going to burn down synagogues, are you, darling?
Freddie: No.
[Elisabeth is relieved]
Freddie: No, the first thing is a briefing to organize a spontaneous demonstration of popular indignation for tomorrow night.
See more »

Soundtracks

Caretakers' Song - Rheinlegendchen
from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Written by Gustav Mahler
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Human Comedy: A Study of Adaptation
6 September 2010 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

A new movement for change, promising a life richer in education, physical prowess, diminished crime, and increased wealth is like a magnet, and the promises that National Socialist Republic created in all forms of the media in the 1930s were probably heady enough that the post World War I Germans could turn a blind eye to the vacuous reality of a rising maniac's promises. GOOD is a film that suggests how the good common people responded to the rise of the Third Reich - the Nazi party with its loathsome guardianship in the Gestapo. It suggests how personal needs could cloud the mind to see only the benefits of a new order that would eventually destroy millions of people and attempt to transform the world in a new social order. And it is painful to watch the disease progress into every aspect of life in Germany.

John Halder (Viggo Mortensen) is a professor of literature and a writer of novels: his latest novel is a fictional story about a man who, out of love for his suffering wife, assists her dying. This novel catches the eye of Hitler and the Reichminister Bouhler (Mark Strong) who encourages Halder to draft a paper describing how euthanasia is a good and righteous act - a paper that will eventually 'justify' the massacre of Jews and other 'undesirables'. Halder's life is in such upheaval (his mother (Gemma Jones) is dying of tuberculosis while living with Halder and his piano obsessed wife Helen (Anastasia Hille) whom he divorces, Halder finds happiness only with a student Anne (Jodie Whittaker) who is fascinated with the Nazi party, and Halder's only close friend is psychiatrist Maurice Israel Glückstein (Jason Issacs) who is Jewish and loathes the Nazi party. Because of Halder's needs in life and also because of the glory he feels being praised for his novel, he agrees to be an 'advisor' to the party. His confrères include Adolph Eichmann (Steven Elder) and Josef Goebbels (Adrian Schiller) and slowly the good man John Halder becomes immersed in the Nazi party.

Maurice, being Jewish and detesting John's alliance with the Nazis, must escape Germany as the Jewish purge begins. His only hope is aid from Halder's Nazi affiliation and he desperately seeks Halder's help. Halder is unable to come to Maurice's aid; Maurice is evacuated and Halder's inspection of the concentration camps makes him face his worse fear about his selling out his morals and honor and his losing his closest friend.

GOOD began as a play by C.P. Taylor and was transformed into a screenplay by John Wrathall. Vicente Amorim directs a cast of mixed experience, but from Mortensen and Isaacs and Jones he draws fine performances. Throughout the film Halder has aural delusions: at times of stress he hears music, a factor that in retrospect makes us question his own stability. The music he hears is a sad rewriting of the works of Gustav Mahler -' Die Zwei Blauen Augen von meinem Schatz', and 'O Mensch!' from the Mahler 3rd Symphony (both sung in English translations by people on the street!), bit and pieces of score quoting phrases from Mahler in a very pedestrian arrangement, and finally orchestral recordings of moments from Mahler's Symphonies No.1 and No.3. The pedestrian quality of the score weights the film down. The cinematography by Andrew Dunn is fine (the film was shot in Hungary). Overall, it feels like this is a strong idea of a statement of what happens to the minds common men in times of crises. For this viewer it simply doesn't accomplish its goal, despite the worthy attempt Viggo Mortensen makes.

Grady Harp


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