The Lives of Others

This film revolves around the East German secret police (the Stasi) during the period in the 1980’s shortly before the Berlin Wall fell. One key character is Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe), a dedicated and effective member of the Stasi, who uses the example of a 40 hour interrogation to teach a class some of the finer points of the craft. Another is Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch, who kept reminding me of Ron Livingston), a playwright who is thought to be loyal, but is put under surveillance by Wiesler. Dreyman’s actress girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck from Mostly Martha) is also key.

I don’t want to get into the details of the plot, though I will say that some of the details were fun, especially towards the end. Though fun may not be the best word to use, because on the whole this film is definitely a drama with an emotional impact.

The film is very well done, and it deserves its foreign film Oscar® nomination. That said, I found myself second guessing a few details and motivations on my drive home, which is why I can’t give it my highest rating. But I’m extremely glad I saw it, and would clearly recommend it.

I’d write more, but I need to finish my Oscar® predictions…

I give it 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 2/22/2007.


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