Thursday, 4 September 2008

Movie Reviews: The Usual Suspects, The Lives of Others

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Brilliant movie; dark, surprise ending. Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. What's unusual about this one is, unlike other movies with surprise endings that tend to tie everything up so you understand the movie as it completes a full circle, this ending leaves you wondering which parts of the movie were real and which ones were mere fabrications or story devices told to you by an unreliable narrator.

The Lives of Others (2006)

About an East German police spy becoming attached to the people he is spying on. Very enjoyable. The spy is a strong believer in the German Democratic Republic and its socialist ideals. However, when confronted with corruption and greed within his own ranks and the pure humanism and patriotism of his subjects, he decides to take matters into his own hands to see that the people he's spying on are shielded as much as possible.

The movie is not completely realistic; scenes towards the start of the movie have been given a convex feel to them, making you feel as if you yourself are spying on the proceedings.
Also, objects of a certain colour have been replaced with objects of other colours, in keeping with a particular colour scheme throughout the movie and staying loyal to what most people of that era remember East Germany as looking like, as opposed to what it really looked like. This makes the film look better, more attractive and appealing, as all movies with specific visual themes do.

This movie was directed by Florian Henckel von Dennersmarck, and is in fact his first movie. Rarely have I seen a director's first attempt become so successfull.


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