Before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, East Germany's population was closely monitored by the State Secret Police. Gerd Wiesler, an agent of the Stasi, the East German Secret Police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film is a melodrama in a minor key, quietly affecting, quietly chilling, quietly quiet. It captures the drab architecture of totalitarianism, the soul-dead buildings of a soul-dead state.
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
August 24, 2009
If the filmmaker commits a crime, it's in pushing the [Stasi] character's rehabilitation slightly too far--about as much as the weight of a teardrop.
Activism proves tough on people who've thrived at their political patrons' blessings, and one character cruelly chooses a path of least resistance when the chips are down. A cataclysmic conclusion depicts political clamps on expression and emotion.