Drama/History/War; NR; 118 m. Based on the arresting true story of the Executioner of Emsland, The Captain follows a German army deserter, Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), after he finds an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform in the final weeks of World War II. Emboldened by the authority the uniform grants him, he amasses a band of stragglers who cede to his command despite the suspicions of some. Citing direct orders from the Fuhrer himself, he soon takes command of a camp holding German soldiers accused of desertion and begins to dispense harsh justice. Increasingly intoxicated by the unquestioned authority, this enigmatic imposter soon discovers that many people will blindly follow the leader, whomever that happens to be.
“Schwentke’s delectable drama is ultimately a keen indictment of the stereotypical German affinity for efficiency and the sense of community born of bonding together in the hurting of others.” –Lisa Jo Sagolla, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
“The Captain, Robert Schwentke’s harrowing World War II psychodrama, isn’t what you would call enjoyable, exactly. More accurately, it compels our attention with a remorseless, gripping single-mindedness, presenting Naziism as a communicable disease that smothers conscience, paralyzes resistance and extinguishes all shreds of humanity.” –Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Filmed in black and white in the wintry countryside of Görlitz, Germany, Schwentke’s vision of a man who would be posthumously named the Executioner of Emsland is chilling and yet, at times, almost farcical.” –April Wolfe, VILLAGE VOICE