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Good is bound to be written off as "yet another Holocaust movie," coming out as it does this December, when seemingly half the movies are taking place at some point during World War II in Germany. But the movie, starring Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs, largely takes place before the war, when Germans found both their spirits and the economy lifted by the rise of the Nazi party-- well, Germans who weren't Jewish, Catholic, or otherwise "undesirable" that is. Mortensen's character in the movie is an academic who is opposed to the Nazi party's beliefs, but becomes a member of their ranks thorugh a series of circumstances he never thinks will be important, until war breaks out.
At a roundtable interview last week, both Mortensen and Isaacs, who plays a Jewish academic eventually put in a concentration camp, said they identified with Germans, like Mortensen's character, who turned a blind eye to the horrors taking shape around them. "Even though I can give voice to the fact that I disagree with what my government has done, the fact is, in order to get through the day, I can buy the other arguments," Isaacs said, pointing out that he wears Chinese-manufactured clothes that he knows were made in unacceptable conditions. "I can't point a finger, even as a Jewish man, at Halder [Mortensen's character' in the 1930s, when I've got so many things to address today, and that I find life to be this ethical minefield constantly."
Mortensen was even more deliberate in making the connection to the Bush administration. "In this country in the last 8 years, a lot of things changed. The way the economy was mishandled, the environment, civil liberties, all in the name of patriotism, let's protect the economy. A lot of it was BS, and we realize it now." He continued, "There's that pressure to be patriotic, to not seem like a malcontent, a complainer, a traitor. Then you don't even speak about it. "
Good comes out December 31, but even amid the usual New Year's frenzy, it's a worthy exploration of complex issues that don't usually fit into a two-hour running time. At least it's probably the only New Year's release with stars ballsy enough to point the movie's finger of accusation back upon themselves.