Friday, January 15, 2010

Film Flash Friday: The Lives of Others

It is rare that I choose to write about a film that I haven't seen the ending to. To be fair, I saw about 5 minutes until the end of the film, and I was completely riveted. This film, about East Berlin before the fall of the wall, documents a time where the secret police owned the people and the information. Those individuals who didn't were killed, persecuted, or driven out. The cost of knowledge, ideas, and individual freedoms were great. To feel the pressure to fall in line with an accepted group idea, whether for or against the government, also was great. You were either with one or against the other, and the fascinating thing was to see an individual fight to stay neutral. The film begged the question of whether or not neutrality in hostile situations is possible. In the end it is up to the protagonist (and his ever present antagonist) to decide the fate of many lives. I love how the typewriter becomes the symbol for "truth" and how it plays a major role in both the protagonist's and antagonist's lives. As for the ending, I was highly disappointed with my (clearly scratched and damaged) Netflix dvd. There is nothing is more disheartening than being left 5 minutes from the ending of a film and finding yourself yelling empty curses at a machine. So, alas I read the ending online. The impact was not the same. This is the type of the movie that may need to be watched all over again just to get to the last five minutes.

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