137 Min. | Drama – Thriller | December 2006
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Staring: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
The Lives of Others Review: East Berlin, November 1984. Five years before its downfall the GDR seeks to maintain its power with the help of a merciless system of control and observation. When Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz puts loyal Stasi-Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler on to the famous writer Georg Dreymann and his girlfriend Christa Maria Sieland who is a famous actress herself, he expects career advancement for himself. For most important politicians are responsible for this “operative act”.
The intimate view on the world of the ones he’s observing changes the snitch as well. Looking at “The Lives of Others” makes him aware of the beggarliness in his own life and enables access to a so far unknown world of love, free thinking and speaking he is hardly able to elude. But the system can’t be stopped anymore and a dangerous game, which destroys the love of Christa Maria Sieland and Georg Dreymann and Wieslers present existence begins. Until the fall of the wall each of them has paid a big price. After that a whole new world begins.
“The Lives of Others,” set in East Germany not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, tells the moving story of a police investigator forced to confront himself and the work he does. In a society poisoned by secrecy, fear and the abuse of power, a number of The Lives of Others’s characters – artists, actors, writers – must look deep inside and decide what they are made of, none more so than the investigator. Ulrich Muhe, who plays the investigator, is mesmerizing, and the young director is to be applauded for this, his first full-length film. Some have compared “The Lives of Others” to Coppola’s “The Conversation” but the two have completely different story arcs and are only superficially similar.
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