The Lives of Others
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A man who has devoted his life to ferreting out "dangerous" characters is thrown into a quandary when he investigates a man who poses no threat in this drama, the first feature from German filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. It's 1984, and Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) is an agent of the Stasi, the East German Secret Police. Weisler carefully and dispassionately investigates people who might be deemed some sort of threat to the state. Shortly after Weisler's former classmate, Lt. Col. Grubitz (Ulrich Tukur), invites him to a theatrical piece by celebrated East… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Lives of Others is a powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A political thriller that's consistently as inventive as it is creepy."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Reopens our eyes to the cruelties and soul assassinations that were carried out daily in the name of state socialism."
‑ David Gritten, Daily Telegraph
"If the filmmaker commits a crime, it's in pushing the [Stasi] character's rehabilitation slightly too far--about as much as the weight of a teardrop."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"Not since Francis Ford Coppola's masterful The Conversation has there been a thriller quite like this."
‑ Brandon Fibbs,
"Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film is a melodrama in a minor key, quietly affecting, quietly chilling, quietly quiet. It captures the drab architecture of totalitarianism, the soul-dead buildings of a soul-dead state."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Few would deny that The Lives of Others is true to its self, and in its depiction of human nature -- and human spirit."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"The scope is especially impressive given that the movie is about a society obsessively focused on the tiniest of details."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"A truly unforgettable movie."
‑ Geoff Berkshire,
"The best foreign language film of the year is also one of the year's best overall."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Its suspense builds on the fragile and nuanced business of emotional rebirth."
‑ Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
"Poised between Kafka and Tom Cruise, The Lives of Others is the sort of movie that constantly engages you. You never know what's going to happen next, and it's all done with a precision and intelligence that's rare in movies these days."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Activism proves tough on people who've thrived at their political patrons' blessings, and one character cruelly chooses a path of least resistance when the chips are down. A cataclysmic conclusion depicts political clamps on expression and emotion."
‑ Nick Rogers,
"Although Henckel von Donnersmarck has a number of genuinely good ideas ... the film is marred by redundancy, indecision and clumsiness."
‑ Robert Davis, Paste Magazine
"A multi-layered and surprisingly touching dramatic thriller."
‑ Eric D. Snider,
More reviews for The Lives of Others on Rotten Tomatoes

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