Der Hauptmann powerfully evokes the total loss of moral fabric in Germany in the weeks before its final total collapse. Based on the true story of Wehrmacht corporal Willi Herold, the film starts when we see him hunted as a deserter by his fellow countrymen. Willi somehow escapes, and finds the uniform of a highly decorated Luftwaffe captain in an abandoned army vehicle. He puts it on, and soon he finds himself being listened to, deciding on matters of life and death, and mass execution, just because it means he will stay alive, and comfortable, a bit longer in this race to the bottom.
Robert Schwentke's early career in Hollywood involved directing successful big-budget films. Bringing all his cinematic tools and talent, he returned to shoot this provocative story in Germany, just when local politicians were propounding the right to be proud of the accomplishments of the German Wehrmacht...