Saturday, August 25, 2007
I know what you're thinking. A film about the Stasi and the repressive police state in East Germany? Ugh. That might be interesting, but it's going to be a drag even if it's done well. I won't say much about the film because spoilers would be inevitable, but you must see it. It is, as you'd expect, a thriller, and a damn good addition to the genre. But it's much more than that.
I saw a preview for The Lives of Others at The Charles but missed its brief run in B'more last year. Silenus caught it in New York and sent me a Netflix recommendation, but I had to wait for the DVD. The Lives of Others was worth the wait.
Don't let your preconceived notions chase you away from what turns out to be a truly special film. There is a surprising twist early on that adds clever complications. I always enjoy a film nestled firmly in troubling moral gray areas, and The Lives of Others surprises with its scope. All of the characters, even the most awful, are understandable, and are presented with depth and humanity by a fantastic cast. The film has great visual appeal, and a delicious score to boot.
The Mrs. cried her eyes out at the end, and is now doing what she does after a film gets under her skin, which is to watch all the DVD extras. But the crying is again not for the reasons you might expect in a film about the Stasi. I'm telling you: rent this.
There's of course a whole raft of current events ramifications I won't even go into--if for no other reason, see The Lives of Others and think of our own burgeoning surveillance state.