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Das Leben des Anderen (2007) The Lives of Others

March 10, 2008

The acting in this movie is simply superb. Often I ignore the acting in subtitled movies because I’m too busy reading, but that’s the best part about this one. So much of the story is told through facial expression, and the silence of the actors.

Something that bothered me in the beginning was Wiesler’s almost sudden conversion from Stasi to sympathizer. He had only been listening in on the apartment for perhaps a day or two before he started to become attached to Georg and Christa-Maria. It was odd, and the struggle inside of him was not shown to the viewer. I can imagine it must have been quite a struggle, but not seeing that was a bit disappointing. I think the scene with the prostitute tried to convey his loneliness and want for humanity, but it didn’t really work for me.

As the story progresses, and as he begins to do favors for Georg and his friends, we know it can’t last. I was just hoping for the least sad ending possible. I don’t know what that would have been, but perhaps something where no one died. But I suppose there were things worse than death for some.

But as the ending went on, I got my glorious conclusion. Because no matter what people say about realism, I want my movies to have a conclusion, not just an end. Seeing Georg find out the truth about his “HGW” was just so satisfying. However, just picking apart the last bit, couldn’t he have sent the poor guy a free copy? It almost seems like Georg profited off Wiesler’s efforts in the end, while Wiesler was stuck in his post job. But I suppose if Wiesler was happy with the dedication, so should be the audience.

On a brief side note, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought Ulrich Muehe (excuse the lack of umlauts) resembled Kevin Spacey. It’s a shame he died last year, he was a terrific actor.

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