Director Von Donnersmarck said, ‘One of the great challenges of modern film is to find a way of having a happy end – and that isn’t a 1930s cinema happy end, because that’s no longer appropriate to what we know about the world today. And to me, that consists of one thing: films should convey a message of hope. What is incredibly hard is facing the dark side of the world and trying to spin it into something somehow positive. Without lying.’
To achieve this, ‘The Lives of Others’ sets up a complex, fascinating relationship between Wiesler and Dreyman – between that of aggressor and victim, hunter and prey, where the two, despite never meeting, influence and affect each other.