|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 119 min
In the last days of World War II, young private Willi Herold (Max Hubacher) flees his certain execution. Fleeing from Officer Junker (Alexander Fehling), he finds an officer's uniform in an abandoned car, which he puts on without hesitation. He credibly succeeds in playing the role of Captain Herold, which is why more and more scattered soldiers gather around him over the course of the next few days. More and more the young man becomes absorbed in the role and its supposed mission, and soon he is in danger of finally falling prey to the intoxication of power that the uniform gives him.
With The Captain, director Robert Schwentke (R.E.D, The Destiny - Allegiant) returns to German cinema from Hollywood. In unexciting black-and-white images, he tells a story based on true events about the Nazi regime from the perpetrator's perspective. This is a daring undertaking, since on the one hand the perpetrators must not be glorified, but on the other hand the audience should be given a certain access to the characters. Schwentke has solved this difficult balancing act well by letting the main character go through a slow but very drastic transformation. When the audience meets Willi Herold, he is a young man desperately fighting for his life. This makes some of his morally reprehensible actions at least understandable, especially in the beginning.
For a long time he has the sympathies of the audience on his side, until you realize that he is no longer solely concerned with protecting his life, but that he has been corrupted by the power the uniform gives him. At the very latest, the moment this realization sets in, the film becomes a very uncomfortable, yet intense experience. It's a film that stirs, especially since the underlying theme is one that didn't end with the end of World War II. Even though the black-and-white look and set create a certain distance between the action and the viewer, the topicality of the subject matter easily overcomes this and hits the viewer right in the gut.
The Captain has some small lengths and dramaturgical weaknesses, but overall Schwentke has delivered a very strong film that does not leave its audience cold, that has a certain relevance and thus stimulates thought and discussion. For this there is then also quite clearly one: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp