In this outstanding psychological and political thriller, we get a fascinating insight into the lengths and depths that the East European government went to in order to keep tabs on the lives of its population in 80s. When cold and brutal official Wiesler is given the task of spying on acclaimed playwright Dreyman and his actress girlfriend, he relishes the task, knowing that if he uncovers subversive behaviour he will gain favor with his boss. But the longer he listens in on the couple, their friendships, passions and ideas, the more he realises that his own life and the harsh political regime are lacking in color and joy in many respects. Slowly he begins to doubt morality of is job and politics. As the lines between orders and compassion become blurred, Wiesler becomes more involved with his subject, walking a dangerous path between his duty and his new found reality. A suspenseful, poignant and utterly compelling film from director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
Facing up to Stalinism
- The Lives of Others review by Kurtz
A heartfelt and moving account of life in the DDR. Stately and impresive rather than a gripping Bruce-a thon, it boasts nonetheless some intensely watchable performances from top German stage actors. The fact that some people had the courage to speak out against an all-seeing, all-knowing regime who had the power to ruin the life of anyone who stood against them is hard to take in when you've grown up taking everyday freedoms for granted, but the key message of "The Lives of Others" is that the desire for personal freedom is contagious and that no-one is immune.
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful.
privilaged to view such a rare and fascinating film
- The Lives of Others review by AC
At first I thought the film would be dissapointing as it seemed slow and grey! Good job we stuck with it. First impressions were setting the atmosphere for the unfolding narrative for a time that is alien to our society now. The characters are well portrayed, the twists to the plot are subtle and the storyline kept the viewer entralled. By the credit role we couldn't believe our luck in coming across such a fabulous film, my 16 year old son thoroughly enjoyed it.
Set in 1984 East Berlin the film is German, with subtitles. But please don't let that put you off - it's superb. That's why it won the 2007 Oscar for 'Best Foreign Language Film' and why it's currently (Jan 2012) at #56 on the IMDB Top 250. Slow moving, yes – but gripping. It tells the tale of a Stasi security police captain (Gerd Wiesler, played by Ulrich Mühe) who is assigned to surveillance duty on an author and his actress girlfriend. But it soon emerges that this is being done for the advantage of a high ranking party official and Weisler becomes aware of the bleakness of his own life, the hypocrisy of the state machinery, and the need to do something. By his actions he assists in the publication of an article in the West German press, ruins his own career, and is the indirect cause of the death of the woman. A really excellent drama – highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
If you're discriminating about the films you watch, this is for you.
- The Lives of Others review by BM
A beautifully acted and directed film. Don't be put off by the opening sequences, it is "grey" and dour but it builds to an exciting story which is both thrilling, intelligent and sad. The last few minutes of the film are unexpected and watch for the subtle change of expression on the face of the actor at literally the very end of the film...heartbreakingly beautiful!
A superb study of the repressive regime of the Stasi in pre-eighties East Germany. Ulrich Mùhe excels as the softening Stasi agent, his performance made all the more convincing by his own real experience of being the subject of surveillance. I found great optimism in this film.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
Procedural film about a real dystopia.
- The Lives of Others review by Steve Mason
Powerhouse, realistic political drama of a Stasi official in the old East whose loyalties begin to shift as he carries out surveillance on a charismatic, liberal couple working in the theatre. A film that makes you question your own worth and values. Starts slowly, but builds to an amazing ending that will haunt the rest of my life.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
Love can flourish in health & safety regime, my mistake, I mean Eastern European
- The Lives of Others review by SC
First few moments of seeing Stasi and interrrogation room I thought oh no what have a let myself in for. The subtle, unusual love story creeps up on you - beautiful in a story running with an abuse of power theme. The state born of pure idealism is shown in its all too human interpretation - job worthiness and bullying. To make a film that is entertainment but with social comment is always genius and this film has both, and a hero to knock the spots off Arnie.