The Lives of Others

The Top 63 Marathon, part 13 (should have been part 9, but I had an inexplicably hard time renting it – Netflix was being a jerk)

Data
Title: Das Leben der Anderen
Year: 2006
Length: 137 minutes
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch
Music: Stéphane Moucha, Gabriel Yared
Distinctions: Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film; currently #56 on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: an East German surveillance officer gets too involved with his suspect
How I saw it: on video (rented from Blockbuster), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Good.
Characters: Good.
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Indifferent. The first hour or so, before the characters finally start kicking in, is pretty dull (“Oh look, horrible injustice. Can I go now?”). And there’s a long, unnecessary epilogue as well. The rest of the movie’s really good, though.
Cinematography: Great.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Good.
Music: Good.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good). The character-driven drama at the heart of the movie is quite good, and everything’s beautifully shot. But a lot of the movie is tediously political – some of that’s unfortunately necessary to set the scene, and some of it’s just annoying to the point where it’s almost not worth sitting through to get to the good bits. Communism was a bad thing? You don’t say!
Objective Rating: 3.2/4 (Very good).

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