U.S. Trailer for Robert Schwentke’s WWII Thriller ‘The Captain’

Written by Tyler Casalini on June 21, 2018 


After the last decade-plus German director Robert Schwentke has been a Hollywood mainstay with varying levels of success, including Flightplan, RED, R.I.P.D., and a pair of Divergent films. For his latest film, he’s going smaller-scale and back to his roots with the WWII thriller The Captain – also known by its German title Der Hauptmann. With this psychologically challenging thriller, this isn’t Schwentke’s first independent venture as his 2002 horror drama Tattoo found an arthouse audience.

In her review for RogerEbert.com, Tina Hassannia compared the ideologies explored in The Captain to the Milgram experiment, the Stanford University-led experiment that unveiled people’s willingness to physically harm their peers if a high enough authority ordered them to do so. The comparison proves accurate as The Captain centers on German army deserter Willi Herold who disguises himself as a Nazi soldier in order to avoid capture. However, this disguise manifests further harm as Herold begins to embody the inhumane and violent tactics in which he was previously attempting to escape.

Max Hubacher plays Captain Herold and is accompanied on screen by Milan Peschel, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, and Waldemar Kobus. Reteaming yet again with Schwentke is cinematographer Florian Ballhaus (RED, The Devil Wears Prada). Ballhaus’ stunning black and white cinematography feels leagues above his other work, and we get a great look at it in the first trailer for the film, which can be seen below.

Based on a disturbing true story, The Captain follows Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), a German army deserter who stumbles across an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform during the last, desperate weeks of the Third Reich. Newly emboldened by the allure of a suit that he stole only to stay warm, Willi discovers that many Germans will follow the leader, whosoever that happens to be. A parade of fresh atrocities follow in the self-declared captain’s wake, and serve as a profound reminder of the consequences of social conformity and untrammeled political power.

After an illustrious career in Hollywood, Robert Schwentke’s (RED, FLIGHTPLAN) German homecoming film THE CAPTAIN, is simultaneously a historical docudrama, a tar-black comedy, and a sociological treatise, presenting fascism as a pathetic pyramid scheme, a system to be gamed by the most unscrupulous and hollow-souled.

The Captain hits select theaters on July 27th vie of Music Box Films.

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