In a compelling docudrama, director Volker Vogel has used real facts to create a story of wartime insanity, reflected in nine actual cases of sailors accused and convicted of mutiny -- 16 of whom were executed by their own officers. Set between May 5 and May 13th, 1945 (the official German surrender was on May 8th), the story takes place on a German minesweeper. The Commander (Wigand Witting) has just been ordered to cross the dangerous Baltic Sea, filled with enemy submarines, to go rescue some German troops who are surrounded by the Russian army. As the Commander starts out along the coastline, biding time before having to cross the open waters and face near-certain death in this suicide mission, he and the crew receive the news that Germany has surrendered -- the war is over. On hearing that news, the Coxwain (Rudiger Kirschstein) takes over the ship with some crew members, knowing that the Commander cannot easily circumvent the order to reach the German troops. Although the Commander warns him that they are illegally taking over the ship, the alternative would be for them to die at the hands of the Allied forces in the waters of the Baltic after the German surrender. The historical result, and the result in this fictional account, is that even the British Navy turned weapons over to the German commanders so that when these "mutinous" sailors were tried and convicted they could be executed.
~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
- Rudiger Kirschstein