A review by Shlomoh Sherman
Read about Max On the Internet Movie Data Base
Director: Menno Meyjes
Writer: Menno Meyjes
Stars: John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski |
Plot Synopsis: A depiction of the friendship between an art dealer named Rothman and his student, Adolf Hitler.
Plot Keywords: art - art dealer - politics - painter - artist - See All (149) »
Taglines: Art + Politics = Power
Genres: Drama - War
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) Rated R for language
Parents Guide: See below
Country: Hungary - Canada - UK
Filming Locations: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands, Budapest, Hungary
June 20, 2003 (UK)
December 27, 2002 (USA)
January 27, 2003 (Netherlands)
September 25, 2003 (Hungary)
Opening Weekend USA: $30,157, December 29, 2002, Limited Release
Gross USA: $527,019, March 2, 2003
Company Credits: AAMPI Inc., Aconit Pictures, Alliance Atlantis Communications, Bioskop Film, Canadian Film or Video Production , H2O Motion Pictures, JAP Films, Natural Nylon II, Pathé Pictures International
Runtime: 106 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Awards: See below
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.
KUDOS TO John Cusack, one of my fav actors, as Max Rothman
Here are exerpts from Art Snob's insightfull September 26, 2002 review on the Internet Movie Database -
To help get this controversial movie financed, producer/star John Cusack took no salary for acting in the lead role.
Writer/director Menno Meyjes reports that before the script was written, Steven Spielberg's Amblin company was interested in the project. But Spielberg told Meyjes he couldn't bring himself to help make a movie he thought would dishonor Holocaust survivors. Nevertheless, he considered the script an excellent one and encouraged the director to push for its realization, but without Amblin.
Soundtrack: Happy Birthday (uncredited) Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
PARENTS GUIDE FOR MAX (2002)
MPAA - Rated R for language
SEX & NUDITY:
VIOLENCE & GORE:
ALCOHOL, DRUGS & SMOKING:
FRIGHTENING & INTENSE SCENES:
AFI Fest 2002
Genie Awards 2003
Ivor Novello Awards 2002
National Board of Review, USA 2002
Political Film Society, USA 2003
Vancouver Film Critics Circle 2003
Read about Max
On the Internet Movie Data Base
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
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