Two Lives DVD Review

     Actors: Juliane Köhler, Liv Ullmann, Rainer Bock
  • Director: Georg Maas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2014
  • Run Time: 99 minutes



            Two Lives is an extremely difficult film to review, for several different reasons. First of all, it is a mystery thriller which unfolds wonderfully; something I would never risk destroying with a clumsy plot description. Second, there is very little frame of reference in recommending it, because it stands alone without the typical trappings of genre filmmaking. From beginning to end, I was never certain of the film’s direction, which can be a wonderful cinematic treat for the more sophisticated moviegoers. I also couldn’t find myself easily recommending this, because it is the type of film with such a slow build that the first half is more work than entertainment.


            With that being said, I found myself respecting Two Lives more than I could enjoy it. This is no fault of the filmmakers, however. This is simply a film dealing with many difficult subjects, and leaving little room for a traditionally satisfying resolution. And in many ways, that is clearly an intentional choice from filmmaker George Maas (New Found Land). The subject matter taken from real world events demands a certain amount of respect and solemnity, and a neat Hollywood ending would have felt contrived and unfitting.


            So, I am fully aware that I have spent two paragraphs of this review discussing a film which I have given no plot description to. My intention was always to be limited in the dispersal of this information, but not quite that limiting. The film takes place in Norway during the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Katrine Evensen Myrdal(Juliane Köhler) is a happily married mother, despite a separation from her mother (Liv Ullmann) for many years because of the fact that she was a war child resulting from her mother’s affair with a German occupation soldier during World War II. When a lawyer approaches Katrine and her mother to testify against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, it ends up unveiling many things that she would rather remain hidden.  


            Despite its flaws in pacing and difficult subject matter, Two Lives is a film worth seeking out for mystery fans. The special features include only a trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 4.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10

    Special Features: 1.5/10

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