Christopher Plummer is quite dapper as exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II, under investigation by the Nazi Reich’s Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney). Brandt has his own disgraces to deal with – having been forced into this ‘undercover’ assignment. But instead of uncovering who the British spy is in the Wihelm estate, he falls for a maid, Mieke (Lily James), which is doubly problematic because she is Jewish. Will love or duty win the day?
While much of the world would openly agree that Nazi Germany was filled with problems, evils, and atrocities, we’re moved to see Brandt’s dilemma sympathetically. He’s been charged to a duty – even threatened, and his lack of abject loyalty puts him in clear danger. Based on Alan Judd’s The Kaiser’s Last Kiss (2003), the story is fictional, but the dynamics are legitimately worthy of our attention.
What happens when the world we think we know suddenly becomes unworthy of our respect? What do we do when we realize that our expected list of priorities is morally off? Too often, we move along with the flow, assuming it will all somehow ‘get better’ without our action, without change. But if we’re honest, we realize that the truth requires us to be invested; when we see wrong, we have to ask. For most of us, like Brandt, it requires love to break through the chokehold of our patterns of behavior and expectation. We won’t change until we’re forced to care.
Lionsgate’s special features on the Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack include a “Behind the Scenes of The Exception” featurette as well as audio commentary from director David Leveaux.