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THE LIVES OF OTHERS - Aka...Like The Reader, except, It didn't wipe its own Ass with my Tongue!!


By Lady Spamalot - Posted on 22 April 2009


Synopsis – kind of like The Reader – only, it had a poignant story, superb acting and it didn’t suck!!

The Lives of Others is set in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) beginning in the mid 1980s leading up to the Glasnost period. The film looks at a dark part of German history and gives it perspective while artfully interspersing the narrative with the gradual emotional and psychological awakening of one of the lead characters.

The most understated, powerful role of the film is played by the late actor from the former GDR -Ulrich Mühe, as Gerd Wiesler – a front-line member of the Stasi (Secret Police) that is assigned to conduct surveillance, interrogate, and pass judgment on potential enemies of the state.

We follow the awakening and acceptance of the German public to the abuses of the omnipotent Stasi. The film provides another essential – though not overbearing - reminder of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. It made me ask how our preceding United States president would interrogate, while carefully not torturing enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay and to ask the current El Presidente if there are any Fortune 500 CEOs that he would like to dismiss this week or maybe just put in a re-education labor camp?

Run on sentence alert I: The Lives of Others pursues nuanced characters that all have flaws - from prescription drug abuse, to the oily, skanky, un-Pantene-ed East German tresses, to the dingy, european Smoke-a-Thon and painfully evident lack of fluoride in the water - which apparently allows even movie stars to adorn their periodontally challenged pearly-grays on a 50 meter wide screen.

Run on sentence alert II: This movie achieves a very literate (politically, musically and readerly –fake word) introspective, nationalistic, non-overbearing piece of art in a way that The Reader only sought to realize - in its own extremely heavy-handed, emotionally detached, egg-headed, completely dicked-up manner.

Yet in this case, the Academy got it right!!

This was the 2007 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film. I can’t believe I wrote that out loud. Those imbecilic, fucking fucks got it right. There, I did it again.

Serenity now…

All of the actors and characters have depth. While wrapped in a mystery that slowly unfolds – we gradually uncover our protagonists and antagonists and find souls for whom to root.

While reviewing bad movies – I am prone to reveal every telegraphed blindsiding or any surprise of note that will be exposed in the Ambien-fest on film.

Not in this case. That is all that you’re getting from me. A good movie – like a good bag of weed – should be slowly savored and discussed with some of your buzz-buddy’s -afterward - about “what it really meant”.

Put it in your Netflix queue and get it ASAP!!

As an added feature on the DVD, watch first-time Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s interview. It gives even more engrossing emotional poignancy to the movie.

Rant Alert!!: Bottom line- if you like to revel in the fact that for every fifty brain-dead - Fast and FuriousCon Air - Hannah MontanaJonas Brothers - Indiana Jones 9Raiders of the Lost Nursing Home or The Reader – movies out there….you find THIS one little Money Shot!! that doesn’t involve Jenna Jameson flossing her bicuspids with some new Vivid Girl of The Month’s nicely trimmed, self-foiled flaxen pubes…there is still a diminutive morsel of hope for the wide-wide world of cinema.

This movie also brings to mind this contemplation – If Socialism sucked so hard for nearly 50 years in post WWII Germany – What makes it a socially and economically viable initiative for these-here United States in 2009.

It harkens me back to the time when Huey Long – with his “Share our Wealth” program was considered just another has-been that never was – Nut Job!!

But, as John Lennon sang in his (almost forgotten) cameo appearance onstage at the senior prom playing guitar for Marty’s great grandson, Dakota McFly in Back to the Future VII

“Strange days indeed!!”

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