Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) bei seiner Arbeit.

 

Germany. 1984. A fastidious and committed member of the secret police begins surveillance of a writer and an actress.

Strong themes of betrayal, guilt but mostly sacrifice run through The Lives of Others and make it a powerful and compelling masterpiece. The story and the controlled performance of Ulrich Muhe reminded me of Equilibrium and Christian Bale. Both actors masterfully portray the sight of a man feeling for the first time. Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck would probably not appreciate the comparison to such low brow Hollywood fare but I found both movies to be excellent in their own way. Another message to be found here is that, as with The Pianist, art conquers all. Definitely not a popcorn flick but as an Oscar for Best Foreign film and a high position in the IMDB top 250 (#52) will attest to, The Lives of Others is well worth watching if you are looking for classic film making.