Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)

I read several reviews of this movie, & it kept sounding like something I would like. It's a damning look at how the Stasi destroyed the lives of innocent citizens. At first, I thought I could see exactly where the story was going, but then it went into unexpectedly deep territory. Instead of a cat-and-mouse game between the spies & the spied-upon, we see how the spy Wiesler is changed when he comes to identify with the famous playwright he is conducting surveillance on. The movie is long & humorless, yet I was completely engrossed. You feel dismayed by the fatal climax, but then there follows a 3-part epilogue that leads to a surprising & emotional moment of redemption. The ending might even make you sniffle a bit. I think I will remember Ulrich Mühe's performance as Wiesler for a long time. His character never betrays any outward emotion, but Mühe must be acting from deep inside, because you can always tell what Wiesler is feeling.

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