The Florida Film Festival has had a solid variety of movies. The Exception was one that looked like it could be promising, but then Jai Courtney one poster gave any knowing movie goer pause. Regardless of the expectations, the film ended up being pretty solid even though it asks the audience to feel sympathy for a Nazi soldier and the former Kaiser.
The Exception surprises
Capt. Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) has been assigned to protect Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer) who is hiding in Holland. News of a spy has made the Gustavo nervous and Brandt is tasked with helping find the threat. Brandt finds himself falling for a servant Mieke de Jong (Lily James) who works for the Kaiser.
Christopher Plummer is fantastic in this film. He brings the authority and manages to also be the heart and comedic relief. Not to mention he is playing the rightful heir to the German thrown in exile to avoid the aftermath of WWI and is still somehow likable. It’s some of the little mannerisms he adds to the character that got the biggest reactions from the crowd. There is a moment where another character lights a cigarette and Plummer isn’t visible in the frame until his hand reaches up to take it from the other character. It’s comedic in many ways, but works because of his establish character throughout the film.
Lily James continues to be impressive and brings a lot to this film. Her biggest challenge was probably being a part of a relationship with the often stoic Jai Courtney. However, he isn’t bad in this film feeling a bit like a knockoff Tom Hardy. The pairing works and their aspect of the story works pretty well throughout. Again, a bit impressive to make an audience root for a character that is wearing a Nazi uniform.
The film moves pretty well, but did feel a bit sluggish early on. However, if you can stick with the film it does feel rather rewarding. Plummer and James make the film one that should be seen and it’s an intriguing, small story set in the middle of WWII. The Exception earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.