Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The last person to see 'Lives of Others"

This blog is about as far behind the curve as it can get, so I suppose I shouldn't be too embarrassed to heartily endorse a movie everyone's already seen. Regarding all those great reviews you've seen for The Lives of Others, let me just say this: Me too.

I pushed it up to the top of the Netflix queue after both my son and my mother-in-law recommended it within a couple of days of each other. I appreciate such advice, since the rest of my queue generally consists of movies I've already seen.

This film, about life under perpetual surveillance in pre-Glasnost East Germany, works as both a sober character study and political thriller. That's probably why it earned the Oscar for best foreign-language film in 2006. While maybe 15 minutes too long, the superb writing and cast (if not unknown, let's just say there's nobody who's been in a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel) make The Lives of Others worth more than a single viewing.

There was a time when I wouldn't have watched a non-English film; now I sometimes feel that I shouldn't watch anything but. Movies made outside the American studio system are nearly always more authentic, meaning much less susceptible to focus-group twists and endings. I'd prefer all films to be in English, of course, but the subtitles are a small price to pay for watching something without gratuitous CGI effects and stars you're sick of seeing on the cover of Us magazine.

3 comments:

Peter said...

Nope, there's still at least one person who hasn't seen it. Even my other has seen this one already.

I ought to see it as a companion to my recent rading of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
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Dave K. said...

I don't feel so bad then. Definitely check it out when you get the chance. Actually, Stasi agent Gerd Wiesler may not be so different from British spy Alec Leamas ...

Maxine said...

I loved this movie. Truly brilliant. Please do see it, Peter!