Lives of Others,The

The setting is East Berlin in the year of 1984. The German Democratic Government (GDR) maintains its power with a ruthless system of control and surveillance. The government uses a vast network of informers known as the Stasi to gain as much knowledge as possible about the lives of others.


Captain Gerd Wiesler (ironically enough from the original Funny Games) is highly skilled in the art of surveillance, interrogation, and detection. At the beginning of the film he is teaching a class on the ability to break down a person with interrogation and how to tell if what they are saying is lies or the truth. This amazing intro to the movie sets a tense and beautiful precedent for the rest of the film. It creates the initial character of Wiesler and also paints a picture of the harsh times.


Shortly there after Wiesler is given the assignment of learning everything possible about the play writer actress couple, Georg Dreyman and Christa-Maria, who have become suspect of heresy. While collecting evidence and recording everything about their lives Wiesler's unemotional facade is slowly weakened. His complete immersion into their lives soon begins to chip away the cold shell of a man he has become.


After watching the documentary of making this film I learned that the filmmaker spent a year and half researching and another year and half writing the script. This patience and carefulness results in a tight intelligent script that easily absorbs you into the time and place.


Another amazing detail in the filmmaking process was the careful detail taken in color and pallet. Color is always an element easily overlooked BUT if carefully planned and placed adds so much to the subliminal world of the film. While being taken back to scenes in the mini documentary I was blown away by the care taken with every scene.


The actors portrayed lonely lifeless characters hungry for hope and dying for change. All of the key players in this film had lived during this time period and situation in East Germany. Each adding from their personal experiences in creating the three dimensional roles of the movie. Obviously the acting was top notch.


I remember watching the Academy Awards a couple years back and being upset when this film beat Pan's Labyrinth. Although Pan will always have a special place in my heart The Lives of Others deserved all it was given and more. I highly recommend.

Reviewed by: shea
1 Comment(s)
* (asterisk) ( said...
Been checking in most days but missed this, sorry!

Yeah, I liked Pan's a lot too, but this just has got it going on, baby. Glad you liked.