Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Lives of Others (2006)

***½
Germany

A solemn tale about the GDR Stasi forces wire-tapping the apartment of a potentially subversive playwright and his actress girlfriend in the mid-80s. On the level of a suspense thriller it delivers unquestionably, but first-time helmer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has greater ambitions. He wants you to come away from his movie pondering the political responsibilities of an artist as well as the creeping erosion of human rights in our current political climate. And inevitably you do end up pondering these matters, along with the unfortunate tendency of von Donnersmarck's characters to communicate in expository dialogue as well as his valiant conceit to pursue his plotline a good 20 minutes after it stops being relevant.

wr/dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
cast: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Volkmar Kleinert, Matthias Brenner, Thomas Arnold, Ludwig Blochberger

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