Berlin, July, 1945. Journalist Jake Geismer arrives to cover the Potsdam conference, issued a captain's uniform for easier passage. He also wants to find Lena, an old flame who's now a prostitute desperate to get out of Berlin. He discovers that the driver he's assigned, a cheerful down-home sadist named Corporal Tully, is Lena's keeper. When the body of a murdered man washes up in Potsdam (within the Russian sector), Jake may be the only person who wants to solve the crime: U.S. personnel are busy finding Nazis to bring to trial, the Russians and the Americans are looking for German rocket scientists, and Lena has her own secrets.Written by
Steven Soderbergh, wishing to shoot this film the old Hollywood way, banned the use of sophisticated zoom lenses used by today's cinematographers, returning to the fixed focal-length lenses used in the past. Furthermore, only incandescent lights were used which provided harsh, unnatural lighting. There were also no wireless body microphones, which would allow the faintest whispers to be heard, on set. Sound was recorded the old-fashioned way, with a hand-operated boom mike held above the actors head, which consequently forced the actors to speak in loud, crisp English. See more »
Camera shadow on the prosecutors' uniform at 57:59 into the film. See more »
Third Men Don't Wear Plaid on a Night in Casablanca
Unforgivable pastiche of some infinitely better movies. George Clooney is a journalist sent to cover the 1945 Potsdam conference and in typical movie journalist fashion somehow manages to do no work whatsoever while being drawn into a web of mystery and intrigue. He's possibly the least effectual thriller hero of all time, more Holly Golightly than Holly Martins, and one of the few pleasures the film offers is wondering who will be the next character to jump him from behind and beat him senseless. Will it be the double amputee? The little boy with the bicycle? Absurdities abound, there's unforgivable misuse of narration and all the moody black-and-white photography in the world couldn't make up for a plot more full of holes than the buildings of post-War Berlin. All this could have been redeemed by a bit of chemistry between the leads or some lively pacing but everybody involved seems to be half asleep, possibly numbed into submission by the dreary sub-Elgarian score. The only good thing about this movie is that you leave with a greatly enhanced respect for the skill and sophistication of the bygone filmmakers whose work it so singularly fails to emulate.
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