DVD review from Nick at Nite.
I finally saw this because two of my friends said, “it is the best movie of the year.” Frankly, my friends are smarter and more sophisticated than me, because I would not call this the best movie of the year. I get it, I get it. This is a story about how hard it was for folks having to live in secrecy. It is about how some folks working for the government listened in on ordinary folks, how nothing was private and how everyone was always on edge. No, no, this is not about George Bush and his treatment of ordinary citizens living in America. This is about the East Germans and their treatment of playwrights and other trouble makers living behind the iron curtain. I am not going to give away much of the plot – because it is a very good story. If I based my critique just on the story, acting, and moviemaking, it might prove to be one of the best movies of the year. I will tell you why I was not too keen on the movie and it is embarrassing. I didn’t like the fact that it was in German. I found the German to be a little grating. I know. It needs to be and should be in German. It was set in Germany. It makes the story more believable. It makes the story seem more real. I am totally embarrassed about my critique and feel like an ethnocentric idiot. Also, I cannot seem to square this with my great admiration for Das Boot and Run Lola, Run . . . except that there was so much action in Das Boot and Run Lola, Run that the language did not seem to get in the way. What I have decided is that French, Spanish, and Italian (the romance languages) are a little easier on the ear. Thus, explaining why I think Pan’s Labyrinth was the best foreign film last year. I give The Lives of Others an “A” if you speak German and I give it a “B” if you prefer the romance languages.