In 1945 Jake Geismer (Clooney), an American reporter, arrives in Berlin to cover the Potsdam Peace Conference, during which the U.S., Britain and Russia will divvy up post-WWII Europe. But his real reason for visiting is to track down Lena (Blanchett), a married German woman with whom he had an affair while in the city before the war. Jake finds her, and bad trouble follows.
Shot in black-and-white and imitating the visual and even acting styles of Casablanca and other ’40s era movies, German is a cinematic curio. Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Twelve) pays self-conscious homage to those earlier films but poses moral questions far more complex than his models ever raised. Does it work? Not entirely (the love story lacks heat), but it’s a fascinating experiment. (R)