Film Club Review – The Lives of Others
This German film tells the story of a Strasi surveillance investigation of a playwright and his girlfriend in East Germany during the cold war. Wiesler, the agent in charge of the surveillance begins taking an emotional interest in his subjects as he listens to their every move. What follows is a great suspense tale with a lot of emotional backing. I was absorbed completely into this story.
The writing, acting and directing in this movie are all top notch and the story is compelling for both the heart and the mind. As Wiesler begins to get himself more and more involved with these character’s lives, he sets in motion a chain of events which lead to some great dramatic moments , including a scheme by the playwright and his friends to test the surveillance team and a suspenseful apartment search by the secret police. The only thing that bothered me about this film was that it was hard to tell what Wiesler’s motives were in doing what he did. It was hard to pinpoint where his character made this change and decision to help Dreyman’s cause.
The ending follows up on the main story by jumping ahead a few years at a time, and once this started happening I began to worry that the story would unravel a bit and meander. But that was not at all the case, and what I got was a very, very satisfying ending. The emotional payoff here is subtle but highly effective.