The Lives of Others

lives-of-others.jpgI recently saw The Lives of Others and was thoroughly impressed with this film. After having seen the amazing Pan’s Labyrinth, I was stunned that another movie could win the Oscar for best foreign film of 2006 (one of the rare categories in the Oscars where worthy films actually win). But after finally seeing it, I now know why. It’s a spectacular film.

The movie takes place in East Germany a few years before the wall fell, and it involves a Stasi captain (Gerd Wiesler) who is tasked with wiretapping the home of a popular playwright (Georg Dreyman). The tapping is at the behest of a corrupt party member, who has an obsession with the playwright’s girlfriend (Crista Maria Sieland), an actress in his plays. As Wiesler eavesdrops, he becomes increasingly involved in the lives of Dreyman and Sieland. The movie deftly captures the invasiveness of wiretapping. Its depiction of life in a totalitarian society is as bone-chilling as anything Orwell could imagine. And its interrogation scenes are harrowing — though the truly frightening thing is that the interrogation techniques don’t seem much different from those authorized by the Bush Administration.

I strongly recommend this great film.

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5 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I just watched it last night. I have to agree… excellent movie.

  2. Robert Ahdieh says:

    Dan, if I’m remembering them correctly, wasn’t the notable thing about the interrogation scenes the irony that they were at once far less forceful/physical than the techniques the Bush Administration has authorized (and even more so the additional ones it would like), yet also far more effective?

  3. Orin Kerr says:


    Do you mean that the techniques were far more effective in the fictional world of the movies than they would be in real life?

  4. owl says:

    Indeed, a great film, and Ulrich Mühe is charming as the Stasi agent-turned good guy. It’s really too bad that this was his last film.

  5. tim zinnecker says:

    I watched this movie last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend it. It’s a bit long (2:20), but I’m not sure what I would have cut.