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Exception, The


Stars: Jai Courtney, Lily James, Christopher Plummer, Janet McTeer, Eddie Marsan, Ben Daniels, Anton Lesser, Stephanie Van Vyve, Lucas Tavernier

Director: David Leveaux

This is what you might call comfort cinema, but I still quite enjoyed it. And it has the indomitable Plummer, in his element with a droll, scene-stealing performance as Kaiser Wilhelm II.

It's 1940, and the Kaiser and his wife (McTeer) are living in exile in Holland, a country that just been invaded by Hitler's rampant Nazis.

Assigned as captain of the Guard at the Kaiser's palatial home is Captain Brandt (Courtney), although the assignment seems to be something of a penance for an offence over which he seems to have narrowly escaped a court-martial.

Finding a maid (James) in his quarters, Brandt seems to assume she has been laid on for his pleasure and proceeds to have sex with her. Later on, however, the affair develops into something deeper, but the maid is an Allied agent (whose father was killed by the SS) which spells danger for both of them - especially with the arrival at the chateau of the ratlike Himmler (Marsan); the latter delights in regaling the Kaiser and his guests with accounts of how he arranged lethal injections for disabled children.

Though the film never evades the easy option in constructing its story, it remains watchable throughout, with some nicely timed (and unexpected) action at the end.

David Quinlan

UK/USA/Belgium/Germany 2016. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour (unspecified).
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Sep 2017