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The Lives of Others [Blu-ray]
The Lives of Others
Actors: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2007     2hr 17min

This critically-acclaimed, Oscar®-winning film (Best Foreign Language Film, 2006) is the erotic, emotionally-charged experience Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) calls "a nail-biter of a thriller!" Before the collaps...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Creators: Hagen Bogdanski, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Claudia Gladziejewski, Dirk Hamm, Max Wiedemann, Quirin Berg
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/21/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 17min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

S A A. (Learned2Heal)
Reviewed on 3/16/2008...
Oh.My.God!. This has got to be the BEST movie I have ever seen. The storyline is exquisite and flawless. The acting is beautiful and subtle, especially by Ulrich Muhe. It is full of real human touches centering on frailties and ego. The ending could not have been better crafted. The score was wonderful. All in all, the movie left me thinking about it and feeling it for a long time later. It was dramatically riveting and emotionally wrenching and left me with goose bumps running up and down my spine, my throat closed up and my mind awhirl. You have *GOT* to see this movie!!!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

To HGW XX/7, with gratitude
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 02/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hopefully, Academy members will rightfully award the Oscar tomorrow night for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year (2006) to 'The Lives of Others.' Writer/Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's debut stands head and shoulders not only over the other nominees, but also over all the nominees for Best Picture. That so-called 'best' list pales in comparison to the heights attained by von Donnersmarck's creation. It is a expertly-plotted, richly-told depiction of life under the dominion of the East German spying apparatus, the Stasi.

'Lives' tracks the Stasi's efforts to bug and disrupt the lives of writer Georg Dreyman (a striking Sebastian Koch) and his actress girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland (the incomparable Martina Gedeck). Assigned to the case is Stasi agent, Gerd Wiesler, indelibly played by Ulrich Mühe. The reasons for spying on Dreyman and 'CSM' (as the Stasi calls her)? A Politburo minister has the hots for CSM. That's it. For that most personal of reasons, lives are ruined. A professional reviewer of 'Lives' really hit the nail on the head when he said that the movie turns on the fact that Weisler realizes he is spying into the life of a man who is 'vastly his moral superior.' That's it. You get propelled into Dreyman's life and you are struck immediately and permanently by his decency and the quality of his character. Over time, Weisler starts injecting himself into the proceedings. At that point, the sequence of events is irrevocably changed.

von Donnersmarck's movie is a continual series of one great scene after another. I thought perhaps it had reached its denouement with the fall of the Wall. But it keeps getting better. Dreyman requests his Stasi files. He begins to piece together the story and the role of Weisler.

'The Lives of Others' is 137 minutes of the best entertainment imaginable. Ulrich Mühe is an East German who himself was the target of Stasi oversight. For this film, he was awarded Best Actor at the 2006 European Film Awards. Is there a more just triumph than that?"
A Thinking Man's Thriller of Cold War Germany
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 07/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I often don't agree with Oscar choices, but this time they got it right.
"The Lives of Others" is one of the most interesting movies about communism that I have seen in a decade; it shows, as few others have, how communism suffocates human imagination...not just stifles political dissent.

A spy - Captain Wiesler - is given the task of eavesdropping on a well known playwright, not for political reasons, but because a communist boss is jealous of the man and wants his female lover for himself. As the spy begins listening in, he begins to question the values of his society and the integrity of his orders.. Up to that point, Wiesler dutifully obeyed without question. But as the spy continues to experience the world of the playwright, he starts to live the subject's life the enemy ironically becomes the friend. The experience helps Captain Wiesler grow in humanity so he ultimately makes the decision to run interference to save the playwright's life.

The film details the transformation of an organization man in a hostile society...and makes us remember the great books of totalitarian dangers such as Animal Farm, Anthem, Brave New World, and of course, 1984. (It is no accident that the key YEAR in which the events take place in this film is indeed 1984). Instead of leaving the viewer in a state of deep negativity, "The Lives of Others" gives us reason to hope, reason to believe that goodness may prevail over corruption. So by the end, I was deeply moved."
The Drone
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 02/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gerd Weisler (Ulrich Muhe, appropriately drab) is an East German Stasi (Secret Police) drone: the type of man that his superiors count on to "get" his prey. Early on in this fascinating, superior film, Gerd arrives home from a hard day of spying on his fellow East Germans and prepares a meal: microwaved white rice onto which he squeezes tomato paste from a tube. This scene, in its spare, workmanlike manner sets the course and adjusts the sights of this film: the unremarkable, out of hate and jealousy assigned to bring down those deemed different, those deemed remarkable, those deemed talented. Weisler is the perfect Stasi automaton: a socialist monk with ice-cold eyes and an incorruptible true believer's faith in the system he has sworn to defend against "enemies of socialism" no matter where he finds them.
"The Lives of Others" begins in 1984 a particularly Orwellian date and 5 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Weisler is invited to a night of theater by his school friend and boss Colonel Grubitz (a slimy bureaucrat performance by Ulrich Tukor) for a performance of a play written by Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and starring Dreyman's live in girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck from "Mostly Martha"). Dreyman is tall, handsome, dresses in colors other than grey and Christa-Maria is wondrously gorgeous and a great actress to boot.
As Weisler watches Christa-Maria on stage he also scopes in on Dreyman, via his opera binoculars, watching Christa-Maria with love and admiration. The look of distrust and envy in Wailer's eyes is frightening: his eyes widen, squint and widen again. What does Weisler see or sense on that triumphant, for Dreyman and Sieland, night? Is it watching them basking in the glory of an audience's love and appreciation? Is it the palpable love and warmth between the two themselves: something that Weisler has never, will never feel? Whatever it is, Weisler has found his next assignment.
Though Dreyman is deemed "the only writer we have who is not subversive," Weisler forces the issue and sets up a full Stasi surveillance: bugs, cameras and sets up a roost for himself in the attic of the Dreyman-Sieland home.
Then in the process of spying on these two warm, happy, talented, loving people something happens to Weisler: he slowly, through the ugly process of spying, thaws little by little: Weisler falls in love with them and more to the point.., he falls in love with their lives.
First time director, Florien Hinkle von Donnersmarck has produced a remarkable, involving, intelligent film: an intricate, frightening film full of lives caught at the difficult crossroads of patriotism on the one hand and on the other the vortex of individual duty and honor.