"A riveting World War II thriller filled with espionage and romance in equal measure, The Exception follows German officer Captain Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the countryís authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser. As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiserís life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke (Lily James), one of the Kaiserís maids whom Brandt soon discovers is secretly Jewish." That is the official description for The Exception, now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Lionsgate, which has provided NewTechReview with a NFR copy for review.
While The Exception is based on historical events, it is actually a work of fiction. And while on the surface, the film is a love story, its true theme is the depiction of how the NAZI party (called the National Socialist Democratic Workers' Party, at the beginning of the war) came to be and how there were still good people in Germany helping to do the right thing even during the NAZI regime.
The story begins a bit abruptly with a sex scene that at first seems out of place, but is actually an integral part of the plot. The focus is on the three main characters... Captain Stefan Brandt a wounded soldier who represents the former German aristocracy, Mieke (the Jewish maid whose family was forcefully removed from wealth and executed) representing the former German bankers, and Kaiser Wilhelm II who represents the old German government no longer in power. The Kaiser's wife (played by Janet McTeer) also plays a pivotal part. Each character is torn between duty to country and doing the right thing. The acting is superb and the story is engaging and interesting.
The Blu-ray edition is presented as an MPEG-4 AVC encode with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The picture provides nice color and detail, while the production design is showcased nicely with great attention to sets and costumes. The time period is represented very well and the film keeps you immersed in the story. The audio also helps with immersion by providing a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that has a nice ambient quality, especially during outdoor scenes, with dialogue that is clean and clear at all times.
The Exception includes two bonus features... Audio Commentary with Director David Leveaux and Behind the Scenes of The Exception, which is a 19-minute featurette that provides some interesting backstage footage of the making of the film.
I'm always interested in historically-based films, even the ones that are fictional. Not all are good, but this film is one of the exceptions. All puns aside, The Exception is a wonderfully engaging film with an interesting story and great performances.
For more information, visit:
* Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vO4Hnz
* Website: lionsgate.com