Reviewed by: Rev. Grant Wright
|Featuring:||Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Muehe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme|
|Director:||Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck|
|Producer:||Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann, Dirk Hamm|
|Distributor:||Sony Pictures Classics|
“Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany’s Secret Police listened to your secrets”
Captain Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) a devoted stasi officer is given the task of monitoring and gathering evidence against a famous play write Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch). However, this is motivated by Minister Hempf who is more interested in Dreyman’s girlfriend, actor Christa-Maria. This sets the scene for a film of surveillance, political abuse, and, in the end, compassion.
The title “The Lives of Others” comes from Wiesler’s lack of a life as he becomes the full time surveillance of Dreyman. He becomes obsessed with the lives of Dreyman and Christa-Maria, beginning to see them for what they are, people who care about the state of their country. It isn’t long before Wiesler becomes their unbeknown protector. This is not your typical cat and mouse film, but rather the cat trying to protect the mouse from the larger, meaner cat.
This is a foreign film and plays out like one. It may seem a little slow to the typical American audience, but those who enjoy good story telling will enjoy this film immensely. At times, the dialogue in German is fast, and it was a slight strain to keep up with the subtitles.
From a moral standpoint, this film is not perfect. I was expecting worse, since it is a foreign film, but most of the sensual scenes were shot artistically, including Christa-Maria showering, where only her back is exposed and her arms cover a side profile. One scene with a prostitute in Wiesler’s apartment reveals breasts. The language, for the most part, was good with two slips of the F-word and one S-word.
From a Christian perspective, I really focused in on the compassion and sacrifice shown in this film. Although it is very different from what Jesus has done for us in His work on the cross, I cannot help but draw parallels. Dreyman did not know how much trouble he was in, but someone who was watching and cared about him did. This caring watcher stepped in to help Dreyman in his time of need. God doesn’t just love me because I follow Jesus, He first loved us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). God has stepped into our lives and done something about the trouble we are in, even though we really don’t know how lost we truly are. What Wiesler did for Dreyman is compassion, what God has done for us is grace.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
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