Malcontenters know I loathe hyperbole, so when I deem "The Lives of Others" a masterpiece, you can trust me. It's a film that addresses major themes without overplaying them, instructive yet romantic, heartbreaking yet, in the end, affirming. You will be moved, but not at all manipulated.
The anchor of the movie is Ulrich Muhe, who portrays a loyal member of the East German secret police, the Stasi. His idealism, as it were, is shattered when he discovers he's nothing but a pawn to those in power. There is no great cause, and without it he has nothing.
He's transformed by a humanistic longing, a pathetic lackey turned hero. You will not forget him.
And I won't forget this movie. It should be required viewing for any Castro or Chavez apologist. Strangely, many of those apologists are artists, and their shortsightedness is shameful, as "The Lives of Others" makes clear.
Americans willing to trade liberty for security should also watch this film set, not coincidentally, in 1984. I can't recommend it enough, so I'll stop. Just go see it, and quickly, as its run in theaters will soon end.