Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Lives of Others

A good thriller is one that delivers on the first viewing. A great thriller is one that does that on every viewing. Not many fall into the latter category.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others is one of those few titles. Just the way every scene unfolds is fantastic. Think of it as a German version of The Conversation.

The way Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe) behaves in the opening scenes of the film is very much like Harry Caul in The Conversation. Both are heavily devoted to their jobs almost to the brink of obsession. Yet they find the danger of what they do as time wears on and they're too deep to get out unscathed. It's also a hell of a performance from Muhe.

Like the targets in The Conversation, the targets in The Lives of Others have absolutely no idea that their every word is being recorded. In an era where people have to be careful with their every action, this makes the blindness of the targets' own inhibitions all the more staggering. Also, the look of betrayal on Georg's (Sebastian Koch) face when he learns of the wiretapping is just transfixing.

The Lives of Others is a very fascinating film. Since we live in a world where privacy is almost not an option, it's haunting to see the era which practically started the unwavering gaze of Big Brother. Honestly one of the best films of the last decade.

My Rating: *****


  1. Yeah, this film is pretty great. And i have to rewatch The Conversation soon, as my memory of that one is hazy

  2. I think I mentioned to this over Twitter with you, but I'm so glad there's been little mention of the American Remake. I think there was an option for it, but thankfully nothing has been heard.

    When it initially won best foreign film at the Oscars I was upset that it beat Pan's Labyrinth, but after I saw it I understood. It should've been nominated for best picture as well.

  3. This is an amazing film. Blew me away when I saw it earlier this year. Easily one of the best of the decade, as you said.


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