The Lives of Others details
|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Ulrich Muhe, Sebastian Koch, Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Ulrich Mühe|
|Director:||Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck|
|Genres:||Drama, Thriller, World Cinema|
|Original title||Das Leben der Anderen|
|Collections:||100 Hot Hits, Best of London Film Festival, Germany vs Australia, It's a Conspiracy!, London Film Festival, Modern Greats, Political Thrillers, Premium Titles|
The Lives of Others
|Run time:||2 hours 17 minutes|
|Rental release:||17 Sep 2007|
Most helpful review
Was machts du in deine Freizeit?By Billy from Edinburgh, Scotland , 12 May 2007
[Highly rated reviewer]I was nine years old when the Berlin Wall came down. I remember seeing all of the news broadcasts on the television marking the historic event and listening to the intense relief and happiness of the people as they freely walked from one side of their once great, unified country to the other. I remember that even here, in Scotland, my parents and many other people were overjoyed at such a momentous occasion, at the wonderful victory that freedom and liberty had achieved.
There are some other memories I have of films I would watch in the next few years, concerning the time spent by those behind the Wall. Of the restrictive regime in East Germany, the totalitarian governments invasion of personal privacy, the lengths gone to by regular people to escape their homeland. I didnt always understand how a modern day, European country could be so wrong in its thinking and treatment of its people, but I was young.
Now, in The Lives of Others, we are invited back to the 1980s, to East Berlin, where the GDR is still fully operational and the Stasi are efficiently silencing every last dissident voice and strangling whats left of any artistic expression within the republic. We get to see first hand as top interrogator, Gerd Wiesler is assigned - on a decision made by the genitals of a horny minister - to carry out surveillance on a prominent playwright. Despite the writer, Dreyman, never having spoken out against the regime, Wiesler is pressured to find out damning information that will lead to his arrest and therefore the emancipation of his girlfriend and actress, Christa-Maria Sieland.
Like Animal Farm and 1984, and many other stories concerning Communist or Socialist practices, we are embroiled in a story that shows the immediate inadequacies and impossibility of the system. Always, the desire for good is shouted from the rooftops, whilst reality bears down in the form of greedy, lustful, power-hungry men who use the tactics of fear and repression for their own gains. Wiesler slowly starts to realise this fact, questioning his own morals and his part in the whole demonising machine, and the story unfolds as he begins to make his own decisions again.
To say that The Lives Of Others is therefore a tale of hope and spirit, that it encourages the humanity and soul of a person to rise above hardship, that it reminds us of our duty to ourselves and to each other in keeping us all safe and free from those who would seek to control us; this would be an understatement. It is all that and so much more, and for those of us who were not there, who did not witness these events and who could not imagine the extent of which a life could be subverted and controlled, it serves as a timely reminder, an honest look into a period and a place whose impact is still being felt throughout the world; its true legacy not yet entirely exposed.
This is a film of great import and resonance, a film that speaks to the heart of all of us, a film which deals with universal issues that all of mankind can identify with, and it is achieved through great empathy, intelligence, tension, subtlety, style and care. We are being shown a world which we would never want to live in, but a world which nevertheless did exist.
It is the power that the film has to let you explore this dark, demoralised world and yet still come away with a great feeling of hope and expectant optimism, that will stay with you long after you have left the theatre. This is essential cinema for all.
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Essential viewing.By a customer , 16 Oct 2013Extraordinarily atmospheric film and if you have been to Berlin it will be even more poignant for you. I adore this film and have now bought the DVD because I know I will watch it again and again. The ending is amazing, the acting is superb, possibly my favourite film ever.
The Lives of Others - GreatBy BrilliantTrees (172 reviews) from Surrey, UK , 10 Sep 2013A very good about the life in East Germany & how the state controls/monitors lives. It has a slow pace at times, but don't let that put you off watching it. Also, don't let the need for subtitles (unless you speak German) put you off.
Worth a watchBy a customer , 08 Sep 2013Tense, gripping film that illustrates the paranoia of Cold War east Germany. Well acted. in german with subtitles which may put some off
Good filmBy Marty_Yorks (2 reviews) , 15 Jul 2013
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideFascinating insight into the former GDR control over its people, and the scale and efficiency of the secret police. A bit slow in parts but on the whole a good film.
Great film - but no space battlesBy a customer , 04 Jul 2013
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideWe didnt realise this was subtitled and spent the first few minutes failing to understand german and wondering why that bloke was sitting on his hands. So a tip - turn subtitles on if you don't speak german. Me and my wife didnt know anything about this film but thoroughly enjoyed it. It feels very authentic and the plot is interesting and compelling right through to the end. Its nicely restrained too, the subject matter could easily lend itself to include some cheap voyeuristic scenes but it holds back from that - it treats the characters with great dignity. It would be interesting to follow the characters even further. Please do Lives of Others 2 ! Ideally the sequel could include some space combat, thats the only thing missing from this film. They should really make it clearer that none of this film is set in space. People might rent it thinking there was. That plus the unexpected subtitles could mean some people rent it who shouldn't. So in short - highly recommended, but beware - there are no space battles !
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