would have happened if Adolf Hitler hadn't transgressed into the
genocidal madman with which he is most commonly associated?
That is the question at the center of 'Max', a controversial new
film from director Menno Meyjes. The film suggests that, had
Hitler been able to pursue his dream as an artist, he might not
have went on to become the most evil and damaging figure of the
past few hundred years.
Cusack stars as Max Rothman, the owner of a Jewish art gallery.
Upon his return from fighting in World War I, he is left without a
limb and is somewhat bitter towards life in general. He
meets aspiring artists Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor), who convinces
Rothman to display some of his work in the gallery. This
develops a relationship between the two men, based primarily on
pitty than Rothman has for Hitler. Rothman does not believe
Hitler is a talented artist, and the film suggests that Rothman's
actions might have been what turned Hitler against the Jewish
people (even though Hitler is very much a racist when he meets
Rothman) and eventually led him to commit mass genocide and
seek world domination.
key moment in this film comes when Hitler must choose between art
and politics. Director Meyjes does not hesitate in showing
the consequences of the actions taken by both man, but does not do
so in an offensive way, as some have said. By all means,
this is a lighthearted and sometimes very comical take on a man
who is now perceived as the ultimate monster. In 'Max', we
see Hitler as idealistic, somewhat full of life and immersed with
his love for art. The events that unfold are suppose to show
us how he went from a youthful artists to a relentless dictator.
brings the film down is the incredibly bland and drawn out
sequences that feature Cusack spitting out line after line of
useless dialogue, including some very corny lines that all end
with, "...Hitler". This is a very weak script that
relies too heavily on the actors involved to make it work.
For the most part, they do, but there are a few instances when
even a great actor like John Cusack can't make witty conversation
with Adolf Hitler seem humorous.
'Max' is an unusual film, and one of the most controversial to be
released recently, though it does nothing but propose a 'what if'
scenario and run with it. The result is a moderately
entertaining picture that possesses a more than interesting
premise, with less than enthralling dialogue and sequencing.
In the hands of a director like Roman Polanski, this could have
been a masterpiece. There's another 'what if' scenario for
2 1/2 out of 4 pops )
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