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The Lives of Others

Year: 2006
Production Co: Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR)
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
A solid but fairly uninspiring movie, how it snatched the Best Foreign Film Oscar from the expected victor Pan's Labyrinth is something of a scandal, although if you've read my review of Pan's Labyrinth you'll know why I think it must just have been a slow year.

In East Berlin in the mid eighties, a Stasi officer leads an operation to eavesdrop on a successful playwright after suspecting him of subversive activities. When he learns of the playwright's secret project to write a piece for a West German magazine about the criminally high rate east of the Berlin Wall he finds his conscience and does his best to help the man and his actress lover from behind the scenes even though it puts his own career in jeopardy.

A Forrest Gump -like trail of fates and destinies crossing through time and space ensues, but it takes awhile to get there, and while the story and performances are good, it's slow and melancholy and not an easy watch to get there.

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