Max
Max

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Certificate: 15 | Released: 2002 | Duration: 1 hr 41 mins | Director: Menno Meyjes | Studio: Pathe Distribution | Genres: Drama

MAX, directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Menno Meyjes, stars John Cusack as the title character, Max Rothman, a German-Jewish man who lost his right arm while fighting for his country during World War One. Although Rothman is no longer able to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, he channels his love of art into a successful gallery that shows the work of many European modernist painters, including George Grosz (portrayed by Kevin McKidd). At one of his gallery openings, Rothman meets an artist and fellow WWI soldi ... (Full plot summary below)

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Full Plot Details

MAX, directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Menno Meyjes, stars John Cusack as the title character, Max Rothman, a German-Jewish man who lost his right arm while fighting for his country during World War One. Although Rothman is no longer able to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, he channels his love of art into a successful gallery that shows the work of many European modernist painters, including George Grosz (portrayed by Kevin McKidd). At one of his gallery openings, Rothman meets an artist and fellow WWI soldier, an intense young man named Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor). Largely out of a veteran's bond, Rothman agrees to buy some of Hitler's work and encourages the frustrated painter to channel his emotions onto the canvas. However, angered and disillusioned by Germany's impoverished state, Hitler also begins flirting with politics and public speaking. As Rothman comes closer to selling his work, Hitler's interests take a turn--a turn that will change the course of world history.
Stirring up controversy even before its release, MAX largely avoids the pitfalls often associated with taking on major historical figures. Although the film is about Hitler, as the title implies, it focuses more on the intriguing and complex character of Max Rothman, who is excellently portrayed by Cusack. In spite of his lost arm and his country's decline, Rothman tries to remain optimistic and finds solace in his appreciation of art. Meanwhile, Hitler's artistic output is largely unimaginative, and Taylor's performance as the future dictator and mass murderer is far from flattering or sympathetic. A smart and unusual film that handles its delicate subject matter well, MAX is a engaging look at the lives of two men just before they are irrevocably altered.

A fictional drama about Adolf Hitler before he formed the Nazi party.

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Movie Reviews

Film Threat - 8.0/10 by Clint Morris Immerse yourself in two fantastic performers, a polished narrative (by Menno Meyjes) and a “could have happened” scenario. It plays all too real if you ask me.
Charlotte Observer - 8.8/10 by Lawrence Toppman Menno Meyjes' provocative film might be called an example of the haphazardness of evil.
New York Magazine (Vulture) - 7.0/10 by Peter Rainer Noah Taylor does startlingly well by this role, but the conceit behind the film is a bizarre piece of wish-fulfillment.
ReelViews - 7.5/10 by James Berardinelli Scholars, psychologists, and theologians can debate the point at length, but there's no doubt that Meyjes' approach is as provocative as it is controversial.
Portland Oregonian - 8.3/10 by Shawn Levy In many ways, a smashing success. It's built not only on a casually clever script but on two expertly balanced performances.
Christian Science Monitor - 10.0/10 by David Sterritt Reveals a key aspect of fascism's cynical use of art and architecture to mesmerize a weak and vulnerable society.
Chicago Tribune - 7.5/10 by Michael Wilmington A flawed film but an admirable one that tries to immerse us in a world of artistic abandon and political madness and very nearly succeeds.
Chicago Sun-Times - 8.8/10 by Roger Ebert A peculiar and intriguing film.

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