"The Lives of Others," a haunting movie
Once in a while a movie comes along that mesmerizes you with its power and brilliance. Such a movie is “The Lives of Others.” Typically, when you rave about a movie to friends, the first question they ask is: Who is in it? That will not work in this case because the movie was made in Germany and the actors and director are unknown to me and, I suspect, to most moviegoers in the U.S. But what performances and what a story! Set in 1984 in bleak, soulless East Germany, five years before the Berlin Wall fell, it’s a chilling political thriller that grapples with bigger questions of Faustian bargains, metamorphosis, redemption and perhaps most poignantly of all, love. The strands all come together in a shattering climax that left me drained and thirsting for more. The very last sentence in the movie, spoken by one of the protagonists in a seemingly casual way, breaks the heart. However you may define it, this is what I think art is meant to be.