The Lives of Others.

Click on the poster for more details.

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Release Date (in Singapore): 1st March 2007

Language: German

Genre: Documentary / Drama / Thriller

Movie Plot

East Berlin, November 1984. Five years before its downfall, the former East-German government ensured its claim to power with a ruthless system of control and surveillance. Party-loyalist Captain Gerd Wiesler hopes to boost his career when given the job of collecting evidence against the playwright Georg Dreyman and his girlfriend, the celebrated theater actress Christa-Maria Sieland. After all, the highest political circles back the “operation”.

Spoilers ahead.

Reviews

From Yahoo! Movies, someone commented that he/she hated how the plot flows.

Quoting him/her:

“What I really hated: Somewhat forced actions of certain characters to advance the plot.

Ulrich Muhe is sensational as a Stasi agent of the former East German Government. He is quiet, brooding and speaks mostly through body language and a stealthy gaze, but commands every aspect of the film even when he is not speaking or for the matter, even physically present in scenes involving others. The events pushing forward the plot are suspenseful though perhaps a bit far-fetched in hindsight, for a personality transfusion or evolution of the sort undertaken by the main character would indicate nothing short of the comings of a revolution, and is therefore in the film, difficult to accept, regardless the extraordinary turn of events, given the character’s essential background and development. Nevertheless, this is a ‘message’ movie of the highest calibre, the type of which is not made in Hollywood anymore — relevant and on the surface, wholly non-commercial. There is a beautiful closing scene that encrypts the tenor of Muhe’s performance. In an American movie, it would have been shot as an opportunity to exhilarate and so allow the audience to bask in the march of humanity, etc. In this film it is treated succinctly and encapsulates well the muted, quiet ardor that is its own — for being nine times out of ten, the only — reward and justification for the triumph of will. Yes, Muhe was robbed of an Oscar nomination for this film; for if he had been included in the select circle, he might actually have won.”

I felt that the whole film was fantastic. Well-thought out and the twist was quite drastic. I didn’t manage to predict what Captain Gerd Wiesler would do. I mean, I did thought about it but I didn’t expect him to risk his career or even his life, for the matter of fact, for the playwright and his actress girlfriend. The performance by Ulrich Muehe totally blew me away. IMOHO, I think he’s one hell of a good actor. You don’t get to see such good acting these days. His character do not have much dialogues but he managed to pull everything off nicely! Like what the commenter in Yahoo! Movies mentioned, He is quiet, brooding and speaks mostly through body language and a stealthy gaze, but commands every aspect of the film even when he is not speaking or for the matter, even physically present in scenes involving others”. Someone should give him an award for such powerful performance!

I like how the story begins, showing how inhumane the system and Captain Gerd Wiesler can be and then slowly developing the story with the little flaws that the Captain have within. And the ending gave the film a perfect closure which I thought I saw the character of Ulrich Muehe smiling a little. Throughout, the entire film, I’ve not once seen him wear a smile, not even the slightest, until the very end. Well, maybe that’s me.

If any of you had yet to catch this film, go watch it while you can 🙂

5 out of 5 stars.

Wanted to give it 4.5stars but I couldn’t think of any reasons to not give it a 5.

Can’t think of any flaws to it. So I guess this film is the perfect cuppa. FYI, I watched the entire film despite not sleeping the night before and not once I dozed off!

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