Willi Herold (Max Hubacher) is a German soldier who’s rather less committed to the Furher’s cause because he’s a deserter and looter, but one who comes across a Nazi officer’s uniform and comes across a member of the infantry, but can he pass in this new role? He certainly really gets into it!
He comes across Freytag (Milan Peschel), the only Nazi who clearly doesn’t really want to *be* a Nazi, and says he’s on a special mission, with orders sent direct from the top, to check out the situation behind the front… or so he tells everyone.
Along the way he chances across other deserters, so that’s quite fascinating to see how he reacts, given his real situation, as well as the times when others are looking to him for guidance, even though he’s fairly clueless, himself.
The Captain mixes scenes of war which are uncompromising and unflinching with elements of comedy that are akin to Blazing Saddles. That’s a hell of a dichotomy to pull off, but it manages it quite brilliantly, especially during one scene around 2/3 of the way through.
Overall, you’re left wondering if he’ll get found out before the war is over and kudos to both Max Hubacher and writer/director Robert Schwentke (RED, R.I.P.D.) for this great combination.
The film is in black and white, and a colour version has been made – and I did take in a few key scenes from that one, but the B&W is the director’s intended vision and it does look quite stunning in that format. The film was clearly shot in colour and then given the black and white look – so it’s not a colourising job – but even though the colour version is graded to give the colours a severely muted look, it still lacks the power of the black and white.
As an aside, given that a lot of films these days don’t actually put their title onscreen until the end credits begin, I figured this one would be like that, but it actually brings it in at 24:25, which is a little odd, but then it’s not trying to be the most conventional of films.
PS. Say what you like about the Nazis – they’re all dead so they won’t hear you!
And one element I have to mention but which may be a possible spoiler…
The Captain is released today on DVD, and it’s a shame there’s no Blu-ray version as it’s a great movie.
Running time: 118 minutes
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Released: October 1st 2018
Director: Robert Schwentke
Producers: Frieder Schlaich and Irene von Alberti
Screenplay: Robert Schwentke
Music: Martin Todsharow
Willi Herold: Max Hubacher
Freytag: Milan Peschel
Kipinski: Frederick Lau
Schütte: Bernd Hölscher
Hansen: Waldemar Kobus
Junker: Alexander Fehling
Roger: Samuel Finzi
Schneider: Wolfram Koch
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.