Hello, Movie Buffs! My name is Lucy and I am a HUGE movie buff with 700+ movies, so I decided to write a blog. Ask Lucy: Movies is a blog review dedicated to movies both new and old. Here I review movies as unbiased and spoiler free as possible, as well as rate the film on whether its worth buying or not.
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October 2, 2019
The Exception (2016) --- "One Duty. One Desire. One Decision...It Takes Just One To Change The Code Of War"
It’s 1940 and the Nazis have just invaded Belgium, Holland, and France for reasons that have yet to be named. Captain Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney), a German officer, is sent by the Gestapo to determine if the resistance has planted a spy in the home of exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer), who was forced to relinquish his throne after WWI, at his lavish country estate in Holland where he is accompanied by his wife Princess Hermine (Janet McTeer), Col. Sigurd von Ilsemann (Ben Daniels), and General Falkenberg (Anton Lesser). As Brandt begins his investigation into the Kaiser's life, he can’t help being drawn into an unexpected romance with one of Kaiser’s young Dutch maids, Mieke de Jong (Lily James), who also happens to be Jewish. But as the investigation comes closer to uncovering the spy, Brandt and Mieke must make the ultimate decision of their lives: love or duty.
Directed by David Leveaux (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) and written by Simon Burk (Fortitude), The Exception (2016) is a beautiful romantic war drama based on the 2003 fictional novel “The Kaiser’s Last Kiss” by Alan Judd. Now I have not had the pleasure of reading Judd’s novel so I don’t know how closely the film follows the book but I can say that what I saw was an exceptional story - pun intended. In his directorial debut, Director Leveaux takes a quiet little story, albeit fictional one, about a portion of history rarely mentioned or filmed and delivers it with great sensitivity. In a way, the story’s tone and the theme is similar to that of Robert Zemeckis’ film Allied (2016), particularly because it is a romantic drama set against momentous events. The story talks about how the unpredictable and chaotic atmosphere of WWI resulted in the death of an old romantic way and the beginning of a radically new way. It introduces how a war that lasted 4x longer and with 10x more destruction than necessary gave birth to a dark and foreboding new world. A world where mass murder - the Holocaust - is seen as a “scientific method to achieve greatness” by eradicating an "inferior” group of people. Fortunately there is an obvious distaste for the Nazis from the beginning, especially from the Kaiser, which in turn adds a much needed whimsical touch to the story that made the forbidden love story feel more dramatic and the dramatic scenes appear even darker.
The cast performances were incredible. Jai Courtney (Divergent, The Terminator Genisys) as Captain Stefan Brandt gives a lot to this role by portraying an officer who has clearly seen enough war to last him a lifetime, despite the fact that it’s only 1940 and the war is only just beginning - at least officially. Lily James (Yesterday) is captivating Mieke, who proves to be much stronger than she first appears, and her chemistry with Courtney helps sell the romantic storyline. Christopher Plummer (Departure, Knives Out) was amusing as the exiled Prince of Germany and his performance made me want to see if the real Kaiser Wilhelm II lived up to Plummer’s performance. Janet McTeer (Ozark) is sort of like a German Lady Macbeth in that she is cold, calculating, and decisive as Plummer’s wife, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz. Throughout the film, she shows that she has no love for the Nazis but she is willing to do whatever it takes if it means that her husband’s monarchy is restored. Eddie Marsan (Ray Donavan) is compelling as Heinrich Himmler and his performance helped put the film on edge enough to be believable. The rest of the cast performances - Ben Daniels, Mark Dexter, Kris Cuppens, Anton Lesser, and Lucas Tavernier - all gave great supporting performance that added to the film’s story.
Overall, The Exception (2016) is a romantic drama with a WW2 backstory and a slight espionage undertone. The story was delivered with great sensitivity and while it may have quiet for all intents and purposes, the film’s message leaves a lasting impression. It shows how, even in dark times, two people from two different worlds can find love and how that love can give them the courage to decide what loyalty and duty really mean. The cast performances were incredible and gave the story believability. All in all, I highly recommend this film, especially if you enjoyed Robert Zemeckis’ film Allied (2016) and others of the same nature.
Final Vote --- 7.3 of 10 stars
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