“The Lives of Others” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 27
“If I keep listening to it, I won’t finish the revolution.”
I can probably count the number of German-language films I’ve seen on one hand. Run Lola Run. M. A few of the German Expressionist silent films. That’s about it.
1984-1989 (the time period The Lives of Others takes place) was during my young childhood. I recall seeing something about the fall of the Berlin Wall on television, but I was too young to really understand what it meant.
This movie seems to paint a fairly realistic and unsensationalized look at life during that time through the eyes and ears of the Stazi (the secret police). In a lot of ways, this film reminded me strongly of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. I can only imagine that it was a strong and direct influence on The Lives of Others.
While I appreciated the movie, I didn’t come away from it feeling like it tread any new ground, wowed with exemplary acting, or impressed with artistic vision. It’s a perfectly fine story, but it felt a little flat. Perhaps that aesthetic lends itself towards the subject matter, but I just couldn’t help wondering what this story could have been like with a little bit more overt directorial styling, or noticeable cinematography.
The Lives of Others was at the time of this review at #299 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #592 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
The Lives of Others vs. Brotherhood of the Wolf
Sometimes French films don’t work for me at all, but Brotherhood was one that really did. Talk about a movie that greatly benefitted from a strong directorial style.
The Lives of Others vs. Erin Brockovich
I still think Erin Brockovich is the best role Julia Roberts ever played.
The Lives of Others vs. Owning Mahowny
It’s all about PSH.
The Lives of Others vs. Rango
While Rango was a fun experiment of a movie, I didn’t really get much out of it. The Lives of Others is the better film.
The Lives of Others vs. Martian Child
Martian Child is just a bit too precious. The Lives of Others isn’t quite precious enough. I think The Lives of Others edges out.
The Lives of Others vs. What We Do In The Shadows
My hit rate on comedies is absurdly low compared to my peers, but I really found a lot to enjoy in What We Do In The Shadows. It’s going to win the matchup here.
The Lives of Others vs. Slither
Gross-out, gore-filled horror is usually not my bag, but when it has just the right amount of comedy thrown in, sometimes I’m on board. Slither is pre-Guardians of the Galaxy fun from James Gunn. It wins.
The Lives of Others vs. Anvil! The Story of Anvil!
I’m not sure which movie is sadder… The Lives of Others wins.
The Lives of Others is now ranked #662 out of 1472 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next up is Frequencies. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.