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Year:
2006
Country:
Germany
Genre:
Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

 

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Martina Gedeck as Christa-Maria Sieland
Ulrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler
Sebastian Koch as Georg Dreyman
Ulrich Tukur as Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz
Thomas Thieme as Minister Bruno Hempf
Hans-Uwe Bauer as Paul Hauser
Volkmar Kleinert as Albert Jerska
Matthias Brenner as Karl Wallner
Herbert Knaup as Gregor Hessenstein
Bastian Trost as Häftling 227
Marie Gruber as Frau Meineke
Volker Michalowski as Schriftexperte (as Zack Volker Michalowski)
Werner Daehn as Einsatzleiter in Uniform
The Lives of Others Storyline: In the early 1980s, Georg Dreyman (a successful dramatist) and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland (a popular actress), were huge intellectual stars in (former) East Germany, although they secretly don't always toe the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x432 px 1853 Mb 1963 Kbps mp4 Download
iPhone 640x270 px 1539 Mb h264 1562 Kbps mp4 Download
Reviews
best movie i've ever seen
Dear Hollywood,

would you mind watching this tremendous work and finally learn that to shock your audience you don't need a gun blowing someone's head off. You need an actor raising his eye brow, a single look, a simple movement of her hand. Yes, I know, you can't sell a movie around the world if you can't make sure anyone of any cultural background will get what is meant to be expressed. Yes, blowing someone's head off makes clear the poor fellow is dead and the other guy is evil and ruthless and needs to be tracked down. Yes, taxi driver is a fantastic masterpiece. But did it really have to end in a massacre?

It is subtlety that turns a movie with good actors and good plot into an incredible one. The Lives of Others is pure subtlety. I hope it will never be forgotten.
2009-01-05
European cinema when it is good worth every minute. The film excites from beginning to end.
A masterpiece!

European cinema when it is good worth every minute. The film excites from beginning to end. In addition to the intelligent operation and behavioral history, there is no dead time in the film, everything has a meaning, a bond and a good pace. It's very interesting the way this movie talks about the respect or not of a person's privacy and the confrontation between dictatorship and freedom of expression ...

I have to take off my hat to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. He has done an excellent job. Yes, we all ought to take off our hats. He is an amazing director and writer.
2014-12-28
Chilly, bleak, brilliant
I had heard about this this film over the years and the animation that it inspired in people had drifted in and out of my consciousness, I must watch it..and then, I did, and it surprised me, it shocked me and it stayed, like a stain on my mind, difficult to wash away, nagging with layers and meaning. An incredible study of selflessness, selfishness, sexuality, relationships and despair, and yet there is in the bleached out cinematography, and the bleached out humanity, a wisp of hope and retribution. I won't add a spoiler, but if you like, it's denouement in the real world only adds to it's tragedy and it's lingering like smoke on your clothes after a night in a bar, a memory full of the joy of experience and the pain of experience.
2011-04-04
Slow Moving But An Excellent Drama About Human Emotion
I enjoyed this film quite a bit. The plot and script were superb and the acting impeccable. All characters did exactly what the director wanted - you hated some and loved others. Their feeling of helplessness was put on the screen very well and the bleached, stale cinematography was well noted.

This is a film about human emotion during a time when the government wishes to extinguish it. To see how each character is moved and changed by their bleak surroundings was marvelous.

I would recommend this film highly - just be warned that it is slow moving with not many exciting parts. There are several tense and gripping scenes however, and the ending is truly heart felt.
2015-11-13
Best film in years
After seeing the outstanding Pan's Labyrinth, I could not understand how anything could beat it to the Oscar for Best Film, let alone the accolade of Best Foreign Film. That was until I saw The Lives of Others.

Putting it simply, this is the best film released in years. The framework of the story surrounds a Stasi officer who is assigned to monitor a writer and his actress girlfriend considered loyal to East German regime. That is all I am prepared to reveal because this film operates on so many levels that I wouldn't know where to begin. On the surface this can be enjoyed as a taut drama but essentially it is a study of the human condition and the capacity for compassion and humanity exists in even the most inhumane people. All of this is shot against the backdrop of the greys and browns of communist East Germany.

As a film it is virtually flawless. The three central performances are nothing short of electric, with particularly Ulrich Muhe giving one of the greatest leading man performances since Al Pacino in The Godfather. None of this would be possible without a brilliant script and exemplary direction, that brings the characters to life extracting the best out of the actors. The result is no words are wasted, and every scene is relevant and expertly conceived. This manages to explore deep issues without being turgid, is moving without being draining and remains gripping and entertaining without being superficial.

In summary, this is film-making at its finest. It is the sort of movie that you'll go down on bended knee and pay homage to the inventor of cinema, because it is films like this that cinema was created for. You'll forgive a year of tedious sequels and cash cows, for the one day that films like this get released.

10 out of 10 is too modest.
2007-04-13
A Monumental Triumph!
The acclaimed German-speaking film, The Lives of Others is a well-written, addicting thriller that talks about a time in very modern history that not many movies have covered. This film covers Eastern Berlin in the 1980's, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Unlike many thrillers, this film doesn't rely on drawn-out car chases or bloody gun battles, but more so on tense character development and I welt so moved by the film, I literally thought there would be members of the Stasi creeping up behind me while watching the film.

Florian Donnersmark's film, which was awarded an Oscar for best foreign film, is about a member of the secret police named Captain Wiesler who listens into people he believes to be enemies. But when he is assigned to listen to the famous and beloved playwright, Georg Dreyman, his life is about to take on a big change.

This film is great in part to the wonderful acting. The late Ulrich Muhe does a wonderful job as Captain Wiesler and all his scenes were just perfection. In fact, the final scene he is in should be enough to move you to tears. Sebastian Koch does a great job as Georg Dreyman, a playwright who is also bent on escaping over the Wall.

Overall, The Lives of Others is a very well-made thriller that will teach you about the lifestyle of people back then and how the citizens had to live in fear. There are no car chases here, but there is an actual story that is worth checking out. These kind of slow-burners are the best thrillers of them all and this made for an engaging thriller. Despite being spoken in German, I think Americans should watch this film. I rate this film 9/10.
2014-09-12
Outsdanding look at the GDR before the Wall fell!
In 1984 I was a teenager in Sarajevo being entertained by the Winter Olympics of that year. I could never think that life in the East Germany was so not free. We were never told about this in the former Yugoslavia. Since we had a free travel possibility to the West, GDR considered Yugoslavia a capitalist state?!? Only after the Wall fell we understood the real horrors which East Germans who did not follow the Party line had to endure. At the same time it was very interesting how those who followed the Party line enjoyed good, almost an excellent life.

At the same time it shows how the ones who were high, fall so low as the system changes. And the ones who were low climb high. (Who was high falls really low, and who was down climbs really high, wheel of fortune does not stop rotating!)

All in all an excellent film, for all those interested in the GDR and Stasi it is a must see!
2014-04-16
A wonderful film that deserves a wide audience
I saw this film in its North American premiere in a packed theater at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival this past week and was pleased to be part of a standing ovation at the end for the director and star, who were both on hand.

"The Lives of Others," set in East Germany not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, tells the moving story of a police investigator forced to confront himself and the work he does. In a society poisoned by secrecy, fear and the abuse of power, a number of the movie's characters -- artists, actors, writers -- must look deep inside and decide what they are made of; none more so than the investigator.

This is a movie that took me to a place and time that felt very authentic, for a tale that was very satisfying.

Ulrich Muhe, who plays the investigator, is mesmerizing, and the young director is to be applauded for this, his first full-length film. Some have compared "The Lives of Others" to Coppola's "The Conversation" but the two have completely different story arcs and are only superficially similar.

Both my companion and I felt this was our favorite of the six films we had a chance to see at the festival.
2006-09-11
Intelligent and moving dealing with GDR history
East Berlin, November 1984. Five years before its downfall the GDR seeks to maintain its power with the help of a merciless system of control and observation. When Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz puts loyal Stasi-Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler on to the famous writer Georg Dreymann and his girlfriend Christa Maria Sieland who is a famous actress herself, he expects career advancement for himself. For most important politicians are responsible for this "operative act".

What Wiesler did not expect: the intimate view on the world of the ones he's observing changes the snitch as well. Looking at "the life of the others" makes him aware of the beggarliness in his own life and enables access to a so far unknown world of love, free thinking and speaking he is hardly able to elude. But the system can't be stopped anymore and a dangerous game, which destroys the love of Christa Maria Sieland and Georg Dreymann and Wieslers present existence begins.

Until the fall of the wall each of them has paid a big price. After that a whole new world begins.

My personal opinion - though it doesn't count that much - is that this one a an absolute Must See. I can hardly remember such an intelligent and moving German movie especially not including the whole topic of GDR history and the dealing with it. I think this is the first German movie which shows this system as it used to be (which has been confirmed by several contemporary witnesses) and not turns it and its people into comedy though there have been several good ones, of course.
2006-03-24
One of the Top Films of the Decade in My Book
I watched this movie again after reading Anna Funder's book, Stasiland, about life in East Germany under the paranoid psychopaths of the state security police. The film is a masterpiece of tragedy and hope and the triumph of good.

One of the most moving scenes in this and in any movie is when he discovers that his copy of Brecht is missing which, of course, has been nicked by his nemesis/deus ex machina in the Stasi. We cut to him reading it at home. "Can anyone who has heard this music, I mean truly heard it, really be a bad person?" From what I have read about the Stasi I doubt that anyone would have talked freely on a telephone line in this era but I could see how the writer, after years of keeping within the party lines, would think that his home was not under surveillance.

"To think that people like you once ruled a country." I had the same thoughts during the Bush/Cheney years in America.
2014-08-27
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