“War changes everything,” Lily James whispers in the opening moments of David Leveaux’s feature film debut, “The Exception,” a sentiment that seems to carry right through the World War II-set thriller.
Based on Alan Judd’s 2003 novel “The Kaiser’s Last Kiss,” the film follows Jai Courtney as Wehrmacht officer Stefan Brandt, tasked with guarding Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer), the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, who fled Germany and abdicated the throne decades before war broke out.
Despite his perilous place in the changing German government, the exiled Kaiser was important to the Nazis, and when word gets out that his home may be infiltrated by a British spy, the Nazis make it a priority to protect him. While guarding the ousted leader, Stefan falls for James’ Mieke, a housemaid he soon discovers is Jewish, setting up a series of personal and professional conflicts that Stefan might not be able to handle.
“He’s a third-generation soldier, a fierce patriot, but what he’s standing for is really in jeopardy,” Courtney explained to USA Today. “It’s that realization that his Germany, this fatherland, is becoming something so far away from what he’s used to fighting for. Not every man who fought in that (Nazi) uniform stood for those beliefs.”
Love, it seems, really is the exception.
Check out the newest trailer for “The Exception,” thanks to USA Today, below.
“The Exception” will be available this Thursday on DirecTV, before hitting theaters on June 2.