MAXDirected by Menno Meyjes And Writing credits Menno Meyjes
Tagline: Art + Politics = Power
Howard Stern is fond of calling this film YOUNG HITLER and says that it is almost as good as Smallville [the television series that depicts the teenage years of Superman]
Tongue and cheek aside, this is a dark film which depicts the relationship between a young Hitler and a Jewish art empressario, Max Hoffman.
I must say that I was very impressed by the acting job done by John Cusack. We are used to seeing him perform in light comedies. Here he shows that he is maturing into an actor whose range is broadening. His portrayal of the young, somewhat decadent, art dealer is very believable.
Newcomer Noah Taylor gives a very credible performance as the young corporal Hitler, a struggling, and not very talented, young artist who finds more acceptance in the world of fringe hysterical lost cause politics than he does in the world of serious art.
Yet Hoffman sees a potential in Hitler's manic art. Hoffman urges Hitler to put all his ideological energy into his art work and give up associations with anti-Communist fringe groups. After various unsuccessful attempts at getting Hoffman to display his work, Hitler shows him prototype drawings of a new highly technical super society, replete with symbols of power such as the swastika. Hoffman is taken with these drawings and sees them as the expression of a Germany frustrated both by it's failure to be a strong force in the world and it's shame at losing the Great War.
But ultimately Hitler falls in with a group of disaffected antisocial radicals whose major theme is "Jews are the misfortune of Germany." He is led to this group by his superior officers in the army. He has, after all, not left the army because, as he says, he has no where else to go. He finds his active expression more in speech making than in art. He finds that he has the power to move crowds, and this power gives him his sense of belonging.
I will not reveal the denoument of the film except to say that a chain of events that Hitler himself sets in motion leads to his movement from being an artist to his becoming an artistic politician and ultimately a fanatical politician. The rest is history as we sadly know.
Writer/Director Menno Meyjes has not made the young Hitler a sensitive or sympathetic person that we can feel sorry for. On the contrary, he has tried to present the political evolution of the future Fuehrer as an agitator and fascist who lets the opportunity of being a successful artist pass him by because of his jealousy of the "rich Jews".
The Between the Wars atmosphere of Germany is very well depicted as is the political blindness of Germany's Jews.
The film loses some of it's impact by making the audience strain to hear much of the dialog.
More can be said but I would recommend that you see the film and judge for yourself. This is already a controversial movie and it is doubtfull that Jewish Hollywood will give it much credibility.
John Cusack .... Max Rothman
Noah Taylor .... Adolf Hitler
Leelee Sobieski .... Liselore Von Peltz
Molly Parker (I) .... Nina Rothman
Ulrich Thomsen .... Captain Mayr
David Horovitch .... Max's Father
Janet Suzman .... Max's Mother
András Stohl .... NCO
John Grillo (I) .... Nina's Father
Anna Nygh .... Nina's Mother
Krisztián Kolovratnik .... Nina's Brother
Peter Capaldi .... David Cohn
Yuliya Vysotskaya .... Hildegard
János Kulka .... Mr. Epp
Katalin Pálfy .... Mrs. Epp
Also Known As: Hoffman (2002) (USA: working title)
MPAA: Rated R for language.
Runtime: 106 min
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