In the last moments of World War II, a young German soldier fighting for survival finds a Nazi captain's uniform. Impersonating an officer, the man quickly takes on the monstrous identity of the perpetrators he is trying to escape from.
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The Captain follows Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), a German army deserter who stumbles across an abandoned Nazi captain's uniform during the last, desperate weeks of the Third Reich. Newly emboldened by the allure of a suit that he stole only to stay warm, Willi discovers that many Germans will follow the leader, whosoever that happens to be. A parade of fresh atrocities follow in the self-declared captain's wake, and serve as a profound reminder of the consequences of social conformity and untrammeled political power. Simultaneously a historical docudrama, a tar-black comedy, and a sociological treatise, The Captain presents fascism as a pathetic pyramid scheme, a system to be gamed by the most unscrupulous and hollow-souled.Written by
Music Box Films
Halfway through I was thinking about leaving the cinema, which I never do. The sheer brutality of the images is unbearable at times and I consider it reassuring to my mental condition that it is. But what was more unsettling is this feeling that the movie chose this serious setting simply to get away with disgusting violence. Of course this is not a new discussion, Inglorious Basterds, which I loved, comes to mind. But while IB did not pretend to be serious, this one seemingly does. It takes the absurdly-cruel parts of other great films (think of the jammed executioners gun in Schindlers List and others) and throws them together, making you think of these great movie-moments and forgiving that this one actually is not very good.
The first act was great, threw us into the story right away, it catches the viewer. But then? It pretends to be a study on the brutality of men but is it? What we see are not men. These are monsters. Everything that would link their behaviour to that of normal people is gone. No backstory, no motivations explained. Anything that would make the viewer go "shit, that could be me!" is taken out in favour of evil monsters from planet Nazi in a galaxy far far away raging around. This depiction of fascism as a mere costume of evil has always bugged me. And while Inglorious Basterds or even the Indiana Jones movies with their Nazis do not try to be serious I could enjoy the stereotypical bad guys portrait in them. This movie on the other hand pretends it has something important to tell about human psyche. But it does not, there is better ones that actually tell you WHY people get brutal and don't just show images that make you go: "Wow. That was cruel". The images are moving but only in a way that "Saw" or "Hostel" are moving. If you make a movie set in Nazi-Germany be aware of the seriousness of the topic and dont let viewers get away with the sheer impression that the Nazis were unmotivated, alien monsters with just an inherent evilness.
Surprisingly the credits rocked me. They made me perplexed, they made me laugh, they gave me a real feeling of absurdity but as they continued, they made me scared, they left me thinking. Everything I was lacking before - it was in the credits.
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