23. The Initiation of Sarah: D
24. Jack the Giant Slayer: C+
25. Oz the Great and Powerful: B+
26. Olympus Has Fallen: A-
27. The Lives of Others: B+
The movie is about 7yrs old so I've written a mostly detailed synopsis. It does contain SPOILERS
, read at your discretion.
The story takes place in 1984 and focuses on the East German/Berlin Stasi agents of the GDR. The Stasi are the enforcers of the communist regime, in place to make sure the populace isn't being influenced by "Western" culture or that they are sympathetic to that culture. I would call the Stasi the secret police(and maybe they were) but everyone in the film is aware of them and their power.
The focus is on a playwright named Dreyman, his leading lady and lover Christa, a GDR Minister of something named Hempf along with our Stasi enforcers Grubitz(head of the division) and his trusted agent Wiesler.
The Stasi men go to one of Dreyman's plays, Dreyman who is well read on Western culture but given a pass due to his plays, and see Minister Hempf there. Hempf is a big fan of Christa and has been using his sphere of power to "encourage" Christa to keep seeing him even though she loves Dreyman. Grubitz and Wiesler discuss looking into Dreyman thinking he's probably dirty(meaning not fully loyal to the GDR) more so than the pass he gets. Since he's a party favorite they think it might be career suicide to investigate him. Grubitz decides to chance it at the close of the play and asks Hempf if they can look into him further. He grants it but only at investigative measures A & B.
Dreyman has a blacklisted(which is not approved of speak) playwright friend named Jerska. Jerska despite his talent hasn't been able to get quality talent onto his plays in over 10yrs. This depression causes him to commit suicide. This is the tipping point for Dreyman.
Dreyman writes a piece for a West Berlin magazine that outlines how the Stasi track every aspect of East German lives but that suicides are no longer tracked. The reason is because living in such an oppressive place as the GDR leads people to suicide and having the State as a defacto accomplice to "self-murder"(as it's now titled) is unacceptable. This article sets off a firestorm.
Meanwhile Christa has still been reluctantly seeing Minister Hempf and to deal with this she's been on a banned drug. Do to the bugging of the house they intercept her and interrogate her. She "agrees" to be an informant, doing so allows her access to her drugs.
Stasi top agent Wiesler though is a big fan of Christa and because he is he's actually been doctoring the reports that go back to Stasi headquarters regarding Leyman(codename Lazlo). It's unclear if he's just a big fan or also infatuated with her. However, once she "agrees" to be an informant details of his omissions become a bit clearer even if his boss, Grubitz, can't prove it.
The Stasi are trying to track down the typewriter than the Suicide Expse was written on and they know Dreyman has it, Christa has marked the hidden location of it on a floor plan map. Wiesler though has removed it, thus protecting them both(or just Christa?), but Christa doesn't know this. She kills herself over her betrayal thus making all 3 men(Dreyman, Hempf and Wiesler) sad for various reasons.
Grubitz demotes Wiesler so low he's essential in the mailroom. Dreyman becomes an author in the intervening years. The film jumps rather quickly from '84, to '87 then to '89. It's this jumpy ending and lack of clarity on why Wiesler did what he did I grade it a B+ instead of higher. Dreyman due to freedom of information of The Wall falls finds out who Wiesler is, his first book published is dedicated to Agent HGW XX/7. This is how Wiesler is thanked and he knows it...movie ends.
My first foreign film this year and I must say I really enjoyed it. Since the film is about 7yrs old I hope that semi-thourough review is ok by those participating in the thread.