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374. The Captain (Der Hauptmann); movie review

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Title : 374. The Captain (Der Hauptmann); movie review
link : 374. The Captain (Der Hauptmann); movie review

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Cert 15
119 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong violence, threat

Master W is of the Google generation so dived into the internet to research Robert Schwentke's The Captain which he had already decided was too far-fetched to have any basis in fact.
He was astonished to discover the veracity of this account of a deserting private, finding a uniform and passing himself off as captain of the Third Reich, two weeks before the end of the Second World War.
Max Hubacher stars as the title character who is initially seen running from military police and then looting a farmhouse to feed his hunger.
As he traipses through the countryside with holed shoes and an empty belly, he discovers a ditched car, containing a German army captain's uniform, food and papers.
Yes, let me re-emphasise, this really did happen.
He tries on the uniform and has a bit of personal role play, pretending he is shouting orders to underlings.
Suddenly, he is confronted by what appears to be another deserter (Milan Peschel) who claims he has been cut off from his army unit and pleads for further orders, believing him to be a real captain.
What should he do? Admit his impersonation or brazen it out?
He plumps for the latter and triggers a chain of events which have gone down in infamy.
The Captain is filmed entirely in monochrome which adds to the atmosphere of a movie where its subject survives by making black and white decisions.
The more people believe he is an officer, the more he plays the part - the echoes of Orwell's Animal Farm could not be starker.
But even more surprising is the reaction of those who doubt him and ask themselves whether they dare put their heads above the parapet to question him in public or go along with an increasingly dangerous charade.
I was sent a secret internet link to The Captain to enable me to review it and watched it with Mrs W and Master W.
The latter was as immersed as we were but felt that The Captain was 20 minutes too long and drifted into the surreal... until he discovered that even the very crazy stuff was largely true.
During 2018, I have watched more movies set in the Second World War than ever before. The stories which emerge consistently surprise.
None more so than The Captain which is a riveting retelling of an incredible and tragic story.

Reasons to watch: Astonishing true story
Reasons to avoid: Drifts off a tad into the surreal

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Director quote - Robert Schwentke: "There’s one place in Germany, the archive of Budenberg, where the last surviving file is archived. That’s where all the core transcripts, diaries, letters form people who survived the camp or where at the camp when he was there are kept. The film is based entirely on that file, even down to some of the dialogue."

The big question - What would you do to survive in wartime?

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