The Lives of Others

This German film won Best Foreign Film for 2006 at the Academy Awards. It richly deserves its Oscar!

You are transported to a bleak pre-Gorbachev era and follow a Stasi agent as he is assigned to spy on a prominent (and I might add, hand- some) writer and his lovely, devoted, actress girlfriend. The writer has consistently been pro administration, so the agent is a little bewildered as to why they even bother to set up their equipment. He is, however, very good at his job, so he installs microphones all over the apartment and starts to monitor the premises.

As things progress, the agent comes to realize that his boss's boss wants to get something on the writer because he wants to exert more power over his girlfriend, the actress, who has already been pressured into having sex with him...to her utter disgust. Other than that, they have no reason to spy. This can't help but have an effect on the Stasi agent's diligence. In the meantime, the writer too, is forced to face up to some of the brutalities of the government he has supported.

This movie progresses over a number of years and the man who plays the agent is absolutely flawless. He has a bloodless, obedient, un-opinionated approach to everything. You watch him as opinions threaten to form...