The Exception
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The Exception

With his palsied arm and delusions of relevance, Wilhelm II is a handy stand-in for the enfeebled state of films about World War II. In 1940, when Personal Shopper The Exception is set, the former German kaiser is an exiled statesmen, clad in military brass and longing to return to influence despite the fascist army that’s risen in his wake. Wilhelm is a fascinating figure: The grandson of a British Queen and son of a Prussian prince, his fundamentally conflicted loyalties propelled his demise. But it’s odd to place him at the center of yet another narrative that makes a monument out of a few meager pangs of conscience. Wilhelm had no impact on WWII, but he had mixed feelings about it. In 2017, it seems that’s enough to merit a feature-film Keanu treatment.

What’s nonetheless engaging about this film, adapted from Alan Judd’s novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss, is how cannily it incorporates elements of spycraft and sheer trash into this familiar formula. After a dreamy prologue, the film opens on the formidable chest of Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney), a disgraced SS officer with an appetite for sex and schnapps. As a sort of punishment for his weak leadership serving in Poland, Brandt is sent to Suburbicon Wilhelm’s (Christopher Plummer) estate in the Netherlands, where there are reports that a British loyalist has infiltrated the kaiser’s domestic staff. Moments after being warned against fornicating with the help, Brandt is called to dinner by the housemaid Mieke de Jong (Lily James). “Take your clothes off, please,” he says. She obliges, and the parties quickly reverse roles in a subsequent scene.

Duration: 107 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.8

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The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception
The Exception