Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2006. Sunset Gower Studios, Warner Bros., Section Eight, Virtual Studios. Screenplay by Paul Attanasio, based on the novel by Joseph Kanon. Cinematography by Steven Soderbergh. Produced by Ben Cosgrove, Gregory Jacobs. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Philip Messina. Costume Design by Louise Frogley. Film Editing by Steven Soderbergh. Academy Awards 2006.
Underwhelming exercise in style has director Steven Soderbergh looking to make his own Casablanca but only succeeds as far as the dreamy black-and-white photography goes. George Clooney, looking every inch the forties movie star, plays a reporter sent to a divided post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam peace conference and ends up being thrust into a murder mystery when an acquaintance of his is pulled out of the river after having been shot to death. The man in question was killed over information regarding a missing scientist, whose wife (Cate Blanchett, doing a magnificent, Ingrid Bergman-esque job) is luckily an old girlfriend of Clooney’s and currently the flame of his driver (Tobey Maguire). Soderbergh does a great job of recreating the period, and even goes in for film techniques of the period as well (the whole thing is shot on studio backlots, etc.), but the story is missing the urgency of the aforementioned Michael Curtiz classic or Foreign Correspondent, and as such pushes the proceedings into the background while the fancy camerawork takes the premiere role.