With such films as Suicide Squad, Terminator Genisys, and Jack Reacher under his belt, Jai Courtney has delivered high profile supporting role performances. With The Exception Courtney takes the lead, and this World War II set thriller doesn’t disappoint.
Captain Stefan Brandt (Courtney) is a German officer who’s haunted by a past tragedy, and even though he believes he’s mentally unfit for his latest task, he’s still tasked with a highly important mission. Brandt travels to the Netherlands to watch over exiled German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer) and investigate a spy who may be operating under his nose.
Lily James co-stars is Mieke, a maid who immediately catches Brandt’s eye and their torrid relationship may compromise the officer’s mission. Clocking in at 107 minutes, the feature is briskly paced by director David Leveaux, and the chemistry between Courtney and James is palpable (both also deliver solid performances). Plummer, as always, is believable and magnetic in his role as a man who’s seen his glory days pass him by.
The biggest surprise of The Exception is its sexuality, as the film earns its R-rating with the unclothing of both James and Courtney (it’s rare to see A-list actors go nude these days, and their revealing scenes seamlessly fits into the narrative). Regarding the aforementioned pacing, the film has a race against time element (Brandt is attempting to find the spy as well as keep his lover from harm’s way) that absolutely kept me on the edge of my seat.
With solid work from the ensemble (Janet McTeer is also great as the Kaiser’s longtime companion) and a finely tuned story from Leveaux, The Exception is, pardon the pun, an exceptional drama.
Special features on the Blu-ray included a featurette (“Behind the Scenes of The Exception) and audio commentary from Leveaux.