In the movie, Weisler is a Stasi member who is told to bug the apartment of a prominent artist. As he listens in, little by little we see how he is changed by the decisions he makes. On Wikipedia, here is a telling quote:
At another point in the movie, the main character, Wiesler, becomes enchanted by and sympathetic to the couple he is listening in on. "Wiesler's response to those feelings [...] move in on him imperceptibly, with very little telegraphing, making them that much more convincing," Zacharek writes. Podhoretz, reviewing the movie in The Weekly Standard, ascribes the subtleness of Wiesler's response to Mühe, the actor playing him: "That scene [...] is limned with extraordinary stillness and compressed emotion by Ulrich Mühe, an actor heretofore unknown outside Germany who gives a performance so perfect in this, and every other moment in the film, that it's almost beyond words."He becomes a transformed person, all because of dilemmas of conscience and decisions made one by one. And you have no doubt by the end that he is a really good person.
In The Talented Mr. Ripley, just the opposite happens when Tom Ripley makes one decision after another that finally end up in his becoming a very evil person. I am sorry I watched this movie, because for days afterward I felt sick every time I would think of it. This movie also depicts a person who begins with decisions to make that change him, but in this case, for the worse. A quote from Wikipedia:
In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall amorality and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate."I wanted to see the movie because of Matt Damon, who played this person so well that I knew why he made the decisions he did, but I wished he hadn't. And I wished I had not seen the movie, for the reasons described in the above quote.
My rationale for writing this post is that these two movies told me, without any doubt, the decisions we make every day lead us to become good or evil. Just a few minutes ago, I saw a ripple in the birdbath and thought it was a moth that had become caught. I went out to save it, and saw instead that it was a fly. I almost walked away. I swat flies! But thinking of the decisions you make, I went back and fished out the creature and watched it soar away. A little tiny moral decision, but nonetheless one that caused me to think.