Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Lives of Others

Winner of the Oscar for last years best foreign film, I can see now why this beat out my favorite film of last year, "Pan's Labyrinth". Written and directed by Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, "Lives of Others" is his feature film debut. Based on this outstanding drama, you would think Mr. Henckel Von Donnersmarck was a seasoned film maker with many films already in his resume.

Set in East Berlin, circa 1984, "The Lives Of Others" centers on The Stasi, the East German secret police and their hold over the populace of pre-Glasnost East Germany. When one Stasi agent is assigned to spy on a writer and his actress girlfriend, he finds himself beginning to question his own beliefs and values.

The acting is just exceptional, particularly Ulrich Muhe as the Stasi agent, Captain Weisler. Without a car chase in sight, the tension mounts as many lives hang in the balance of one man's actions. The film has so many subtle moments of emotional impact, it will haunt you for days. The last half hour, in particular, is riveting right up to the very end.

Do not miss this amazing film. In German, with English subtitles.

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