The Lives of Others

D: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck
Lions Gate/Bayerischer Rundfunk (Quirin Berg & Max Weidemann)
Germany 2006 (released 2007)
132 mins


W: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck
DP: Hagen Bogdanski
Ed: Patricia Rommel
Mus: Gabriel Yared & Stephane Moucha
PD: Tom Sternitzke

Ulrich Mühe (Gerd Wiesler), Martina Gedeck (Christa-Maria Sieland), Sebastian Koch (Georg Dreyman), Ulrich Tukur (Anton Grubitz) 

Reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 classic, The Conversation (qv), only the story is relocated to the German Democratic Republic still under communist political rule and state security (Stasi) undergo surveillance of a writer and his actress girlfriend whom they suspect of espionage.
Wiesler, the Stasi captain assigned to the case gradually realises the futility of his profession and develops a conscience surrounding his own life and action.
The Lives Of Others is an outstanding thriller which keeps the viewer gripped throughout and incredibly poignant considering this was Ulrich Mühe's final performance before his untimely death. Even more so due to the final line of dialogue.
A deserved winner of a Foreign Language Film Oscar, the only irritant is that Juno's falsely-hip script won the Original Screenplay award that year, when this absolute masterpiece of cinema didn't even secure a nomination.

Ulrich Muhe in The Lives of Others
Ulrich Muhe in The Lives of Others