Saturday, December 08, 2018

stunning imagery got me to check out the movie trailer... to find out why a team of soldiers was pulling a Nazi staff car

as you can see, 70 years later, and even a movie image about a true story can't have the swastika on it depending on the country it's printed in.

Above printed in the USA, below, in Norway

Anyway, the story itself in intriguing, it's not about the Nazis... it's about a deserter impersonating a Nazi officer to first, just survive until the end of the war, but then, to grab as much power as he could to satisfy his sadistic desires by killing and murdering pows and wehrmacht deserters

To quote Wikipedia " the story of German war criminal Willi Herold, who assumed a stolen identity as a German officer and orchestrated the killing of deserters and other prisoners at one of the Emslandlager camps."

director Robert Schwentke (RED, Insurgent, Allegiant) uses the device of a uniform to explore what’s underneath, and finds darkness in the hearts of men. The Captain takes the real-life story of a 21 year-old conscripted private at the very end of World War II who, having deserted his unit, stole a captain’s uniform and adopted the role of very persecutors from whom he was fleeing. It looks at the implosion of violence from soldiers honed and hardened by war once the order of combat starts to break down.

It’s two weeks before the end of the war, and the Third Reich is unravelling. Deserters are pillaging and stealing in order to survive. One of them, Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), his face scabbed with crusted mud, narrowly escapes being shot by German officers in a jeep, then witnesses a fellow stray get pitchforked to death over the theft of some eggs. When he stumbles upon an officer’s uniform in an abandoned truck, he puts it on. And immediately his bearing changes. The cowed, kicked dog demeanour vanishes, in its place a clipped, casual cruelty.

The uniform brings him status and power, both of which he discovers a taste for. But if clothes maketh the man, in this case they make him a monster. Emboldened by the opportunistic soldiers who attach themselves to him, he embarks on a precarious game of brinksmanship, brutally raising the stakes every time it looks like he might be discovered. Of his rag tag band of men, two suspect that The Captain is, like them, a deserter trying to bluster his way out of a tight spot. One, Freytag (Milan Peschel) is the conscience that Herold tries to ignore. Furrowed and sorrowful, he bears witness to the atrocities. Kipinski (Frederick Lau) meanwhile manifests every savage impulse, he’s a rampaging Id armed with an assault rifle.

Assuredly uncomfortable, the reality of war often is. I don't think I'm going to see the movie, even with a blu ray so the damn thing doesn't have to be heard in German and read in English.

I understand that this was done in order to show the reality of the situation, as the Germans didn't speak English so Americans could see a movie without subtitles, but I also know that when making a movie, you either do it in English, or get fewer people paying to see it.

Of course, this was probably made to not just show how repulsive men can be in war, it may also have been made to get perennially shown in film schools, history classes, and maybe to try for an Oscar. All of those goals make up for the lack of box office ticket sales

these two full size posters are for comparison sake.


  1. Most nations that had a "pleasure" be under Nazi occupation have strict laws that ban associated symbolism in public space. They can be used in historical or educational context but everything else is no go. So go even farther, I remember the situation that on WarThunder forum game devs (Russians) censored swastikas on historical photo of Luftwaffe planes. They seriously afraid that someone in Russia will "inform" prosecutors and they will need to explaining why they "propagandize Nazsim".

    Swastika was a symbol of happiness and prosperity in many cultures before Nazis take it as own symbol. Well it was a good symbol so why not take it, right? They just twisted it a little. Fins used swastika as symbol, my favourite military unit, Podhale Rifles used swastika as unit symbol. Before the war, Swastika was "good" thing. In times of war and after it... symbol of pure evilness. People often forget that it was not always that way, Nazis pervert it, corrupt it original meaning. And now, swastika is almost universally ban in Europe.

    1. I knew the history, but didn't know the recent laws criminalized public display of it.

    2. They mostly exist from end of war. As example, Polish Criminal Code - propagation of totalitarian symbols - 2 years. Czech Republic Criminal Code - 3 years. Germany - 3 years. After collapse of USSR they did ad to that Communist symbols. But ironical, communist symbols are much more tolerated then nazis ones. Even when they are forbidden. Of course there is also element of recent popularity of some more... radical movements and some "fans" of swastikas are more brave to express their ideas and symbolism in public. Mostly they are condemned by governments but, let's say they condemn but also give silent nod for such actions. Voting base is more important then human dignity.

    3. Most occupied countries? I doubt it. In the east bloc countries it was banned, but then they banned everything they could think of. That ended when thThe Wall crumbled. Germany still bans it, and recently France made it illegal to deny The Holocaust took place. But I think that's about it; stupidity and bad taste remains legal....

  2. Odd, because the Norwegian 'Dead Snow' did show a Swastika.

    Btw. some years ago local tattoo parlours here in Denmark tried to 'rehabilitate' the ancient Egyptian symbol, by offering free Swastika tattoos. It didn't fly, though...

    1. it is odd, it seems pointless to me to remove the symbol from the poster, but, there are so damn many people who have a fit over stupid things, and some have lawyers to cause problems, expensive to counter

  3. Oh and I did saw it. In very simple words, it's about power. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's good movie but very dark.