The Lives of Others

My father hosted a poker night at the house Tuesday night, and rather than sitting around listening to a bunch of old guys talk about being old guys, I decided to go to the movies. I was a little surprised to see that this film was still playing over at the AMC, given that it's a foreign-language film that no one has heard of, even after it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Lives of Others is a German film set in the mid-1980s, four years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's about a member of the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, charged with spying on a Western-educated writer, Dreyman, and his friends, including his actress girlfriend, Christa, with whom a high-ranking member of the East German government has become infatuated.

Wiesler, the Stasi agent, is a by-the-book, straight-laced member of the socialist party, but he quickly becomes fascinated by this writer's life, so much so that he begins to fudge his reports in order to extend the assignment. He even goes so far as to covertly interfere with the lives of Dreyman and Christa, but why?

It really is a fantastic movie and I can see why it won the Academy Award, even though in my heart of hearts I still wish it had gone to del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. But I totally recommend The Lives of Others. Very intriguing, complex film. Great acting, great directing. Two thumbs, etc.

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