The Lives of Others Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
Wow. It was really, really good!
It’s not really a spy movie per se but perhaps it would best qualify as intelligence, counterespionage, Cold War, etc. Everyone references 1974’s The Conversation with Gene Hackman but combine that with 2010’s Post Mortem if you want a better approximation of what you’re getting into. Neither I nor many of the people who end up talking about this movie have had experience with the Stasi. Most of the criticisms are about a lack of meticulous realism and the impossible suspension of disbelief in the very idea of a character like Wiesler.
It really is a wonderful film. I came away with the sense of significance and intimacy in almost every scene. Looks, gestures, blocking, music, historical context, social context, interpersonal context all combine into fully realized characters that pull us into their world for 2 hours. They become real, the story becomes real and just as HGW XX/7 is caught up in it, so are we.
It really is amazing to watch. We may strain at significance for a modern audience embroiled in its own surveillance imbroglio but in a genre brimming with shoddy, imitative works; The Lives of Others is a work of art.