Archive for the ‘David Leveaux’ Category

The Exiled King

The Exception

Director: David Leveaux

Cast: Jai Courtney, Lily James, Christopher Plummer, Janet McTeer, Eddie Marsan, Ben Daniels, Anton Lesser, Mark Dexter

After its packed South African premiere at the 38th Durban International Film Festival, The Exception is a riveting World War II drama told from the German perspective.

Set in Holland in 1940, German soldier Stefan Brandt played with bravado by Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad, A Good Day to Die Hard) is sent to guard the exiled king Wilhelm II wonderfully played by Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners).

At the end of World War One when the allies defeated Germany, besides the harsh reparations placed on the defeated nation, one of the conditions of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles was that the reigning German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II be stripped of his royal title and sent to live in exile in Utrecht, Holland.

British director David Leveaux assembles a fantastic cast in this interesting film also starring Lily James (Baby Driver, Cinderella) as a sexually provocative Dutch maid Mieke de Jong who quickly falls in love with the handsome and tough Brandt and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) as Kaiser Wilhelm’s wife, Princess Hermine who is desperately hoping that her exiled husband will have his monarchy restored even though Germany has entered the Third Reich under the ruthless Nazi’s who have started World War II.

Eddie Marsan (Their Finest, Happy Go Lucky, Concussion) appears as the creepy Head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, in a brief yet comical scene stealer.

As a historical film, The Exception is a watchable tale, filled with intrigue, sexual conquest and lost dreams although its relevance will be lost on a mostly English speaking audience and also because most of the cast are British, Canadian or Australian actors playing German characters. If audiences want authenticity they should watch the excellent 2015 German film, The People vs. Fritz Bauer, which also premiered at #DIFF2017 as part of the German Film Focus.

Nevertheless, as a World War II thriller which deviates from the usual Allied scenario, The Exception is enjoyable in the same vein as director Mark Herman’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

What does stand out in The Exception, are the fine performances of Christopher Plummer and Janet McTeer but sadly their acting will probably be overlooked in the 2018 Oscar race.

Concisely written with an engaging plot, The Exception gets a film rating of 7.5 out 10 and was an impressive film to be screened at the Durban International Film Festival, attracting a full cinema house.

Recommended viewing for audiences that prefer a provocative World War Two thriller from the perspective of the so-called enemy.


Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2018
« Feb    
  • Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro Steps Down Hours Before Report Detailing Unwanted Sexual Advances
    Michael Ferro, the former Tronc chairman, stepped down from the company’s board on Monday, effective immediately, just hours before a report from Fortune outlined allegations of sexual advances by two women who were doing business with him. Ferro, a Chicago businessman and largest Tronc shareholder, will be replaced by Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn. The company’s […]
  • MGM Shakeup: Gary Barber Out as CEO
    MGM CEO Gary Barber has been fired by the studio’s board of directors — just five months after he signed a new contract that runs through 2022. MGM Holdings made the announcement Monday evening, saying it had initiated a CEO transition and and executive search for Barber’s successor. The company said Barber had led MGM […]
    Dave McNary
  • The Weinstein Co. Declares Bankruptcy
    The Weinstein Co. announced Monday that it had filed for bankruptcy, finding itself unable to survive the allegations of sexual abuse leveled against co-founder Harvey Weinstein last fall. The company may yet be able to reorganize and continue to produce TV shows and films under new ownership. Lantern Capital put in a “stalking horse” bid, […]
  • ‘The Science Fair,’ ‘Nona’ Among Sun Valley Film Festival Winners
    The seventh annual Sun Valley Film Festival has announced its 2018 prizes, with the Audience Award going to documentary “Science Fair,” directed by Christina Costantini and Darren Foster. The Producer’s Vision Award went to “Outside In,” directed by Lynn Shelton; produced by Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt; and executive produced by Jay Duplass and Mark […]
    Pat Saperstein
  • SXSW Film Review: ‘The Dawn Wall’
    Later this year — starting, perhaps, with the release of “First Man,” Damien Chazelle’s epic biographical drama about Neil Armstrong and the space program — America will commence what promises to be a momentous and meditative celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. What will be celebrated, of course, isn’t just the immensity […]
    Owen Gleiberman