Films & Schedules

  • Good

  • Vicente Amorim

United Kingdom/Germany
96 minutes

Production Company:
Good Film Ltd./Miromar Entertainment
Executive Producer:
Simon Fawcett
Miriam Segal
John Wrathall, based on the play by C.P. Taylor
Production Designer:
Andrew Laws
Andrew Dunn
John Wilson
John Taylor
Simon Lacey
Principal Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Jason Issacs, Jodie Whittaker, Mark Strong, Gemma Jones

International Sales Agent:
Odd Lot International

TIFF Tags: Politics 

Monday September 0808:30PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1009:15PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1202:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Vicente Amorim’s deliberately provocative Good asks a simple question: what turned normal “good” Germans into people capable of sending millions to the gas chambers during the Second World War? Since they could not all have been monsters, the film proposes, what else could explain this tragedy?

The casting of Viggo Mortensen, an actor who frequently embodies sympathetic, virile leading men, certainly adds substance to the topic as it is explored here. It is his character’s account, an innocuous descent into Nazi collaboration, that powers this troubling work.

John Halder (Mortensen) is the “good” German: a shy but decent retiring professor of literature who has just published a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia. He lives with an over-anxious wife (Anastasia Hille), two needy children and a mother with senile dementia. His book research allowed him to investigate his personal predicament further, but he chose, at some risk, to explore the subject within the twisted climate of Nazi ideology. It is not long before John’s thesis arouses the interest of the Nazis, and he finds himself summoned to an interview with the local Gauleiter. The times are uncertain, and John quickly realizes that even small choices can have devastating consequences. A paying research job turns into much more as John finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the Nazi regime. Subtle pressure is applied, and gradually meek disinterest turns into cooperation and then collusion.
As John transforms, the tug-of-war in this intellectual's personal life is painful to witness. As his marriage fails, he finds himself drawn to a charismatic younger woman – and one of his students – played by Jodie Whittaker. But it is his lifelong friendship with Maurice (Jason Isaacs), a Jewish psychiatrist, that cuts deepest. As John sheds his professorial jacket for the brownshirt of the Nazi party, he finds that life, and personal choices, carry far more weight than he ever imagined.

Piers Handling

Vicente Amorim was born in Vienna and later settled in Brazil. He began his career as an assistant director before directing commercials and short films. In 2000, he directed the documentary Too Much Brazil, and in 2003 he directed his first feature film, The Middle of the World. Good (08) is his second full-length feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award