Viggo Mortensen in Good (2008)

Not Good Enough

Literary professor, John Haider (Viggo Mortensen), lives in a changing world as the Nazi Regime is building whilst he looks after his family, including his ill mother (Gemma Jones) and finds himself having feeling for Anne (Jodie Whitaker), a student. But a book which Haider writes on euthanasia brings him to the attention of the Nazi hierarchy, including Hitler himself. And in turn Haider finds himself pressed into working with the Gestapo and writing about legalizing euthanasia.

Euthanasia, the Nazi Regime, civilian naivety, friendship with a Jew and an affair. Those are 5 big elements in the movie "Good", or should I say they should be 5 big elements in the movie "Good". Unfortunately the power of exploring those elements never manifests itself on the screen leaving "Good" a movie which flits between all the different elements but never really manifests the depths of the subjects. Basically one minute it is touching on the subject of euthanasia with John's mother wanting to die but then it flies off to look at the strained marriage, then his friendship with Maurice, a Jewish psychiatrist and so it goes on. It really puts the pieces in place but never manages to do anything with them.

But what "Good" achieves is to deliver this look, this mix of period drama with a touch of autumnal hue to make a beautifully looking movie. And in fairness whilst some of the dialogue is to text book the acting is good through out with both Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs delivering characters who are easy to connect with.

What this all boils down to is that "Good" ends up a missed opportunity a movie with a lot of scope but is unable to do credit to all of the elements.