Film Spotlight: "Good"
6 January 2009
Learning from past wrongs to guide society forward morally
Image Larry Horricks.
© Good Films.
The film Good portrays the journey down the slippery and sometimes dangerous slope of morality, depicting how extreme acts of evil can easily be justified and rationalized--even presented and masquerading as good.
This story is set in Berlin in the 1930s during Hitler's rise to power, where an environment was cleverly forged to manipulate and twist ethical norms. Otherwise "good" people quickly lost their moral compass as if magnetic poles had become reversed.
John Halder, played convincingly by Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), is a professor of German literature whose moral constitution is put to the test when he is offered a position among the academic elite in the Nazi regime.
Halder is asked to write a paper in support of euthanasia as a "humanitarian" act, based on the choice that one of his characters in his fictional novel makes to end the suffering of his ailing wife. This paper, it is implied later, will be used to justify the killing of mentally and physically ill people within German society.
Director Vicente Amorim offers us a compassionate look into the erosion of this humanitarian academic trying his best yet tempted by what seems to promise him a better life and happiness. We can easily identify with Halder, making the premise of the film effective. Halder must confront the wide chasm between his beliefs and his actions caused by his self-interest.
It is through his relationship with Maurice, played by Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter series), Halder's Jewish psychoanalyst and friend, that becomes a mirror or foil to Halder's progressive inner and outer struggle.
Shot entirely on location in Budapest, Good is based on the acclaimed play by C.P. Taylor, one of London's leading figures in socially conscious artistic movements in the 1960s and 1970s. At the age of 52, Taylor described the principal themes of his writing as "the conflicts between man's ideals and his limitations."
Producer Miriam Segal was committed to bringing Taylor's thought-provoking play to the screen ever since she first saw it years prior. "C.P. Taylor wanted to find a metaphor for conscience," she states in the film's press notes, "and illustrate the idea that we live our lives exploring or acknowledging peripheral vision. We are driven by individual need, and what can easily happen as we see in Good, is that if we separate ourselves from the behavior of others, we can create a society without heart or compassion, in which terrible things can manifest."
Last edited: 7 January 2009 04:07:16