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83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski. A tangled and emotional what-if" drama about a Jewish German WWI veteran who is running an art gallery and takes a promising painter under his wing-a young Adolf Hitler. 2002/color/108 min/R/widescreen.

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski, Molly Parker, Ulrich Thomsen
  • Directors: Menno Meyjes
  • Writers: Menno Meyjes
  • Producers: John Cusack, Andras Hamori, Andrea Albert, Cameron McCracken, Damon Bryant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008K77D
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,038 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Max" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on June 15, 2003
Format: DVD
****1/2 Countless films have dealt with Adolph Hitler the monster, the madman, the unprecedented mass murderer. But very few have attempted to go beyond this image, to conceive of Hitler in less than larger-than-life terms and to try to figure out what it was exactly that made this most infamous of modern dictators "tick."
This is certainly understandable, for how is one to "explain" an Adolph Hitler? How is one to reconcile the man who was responsible for the deaths of millions with a flesh-and-blood person who lived and breathed like the rest of us? The answers to these questions have eluded sociologists, psychologists and artists for decades now and it is the rare person who even attempts to provide us with some possible explanations. It is for this reason that writer/director Menno Meyjes deserves extraordinary praise for bringing "Max" to the screen. Is it possible for a single film - especially one that runs a mere 108 minutes - to successfully address this bewilderingly complex subject? Probably not, but "Max" certainly takes a bold first step in trying to piece together this most mystifying of psychoanalytical puzzles.
Meyjes begins his story in 1918, immediately after the Germans have suffered a crushing defeat in World War I and now face further humiliation in the form of punitive measures meted out by the Versailles Treaty. We see Hitler as essentially an embittered 30-year-old social misfit, a rootless, impoverished, down-on-his-luck painter whose work shows some promise but who keeps being told that he needs to find that "authentic voice" that will distinguish his work from that of his more successful artistic contemporaries.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 21, 2004
Format: DVD
A standard question concerning ethics asks if you could go back in a time machine and have the chance to kill Adolf Hitler as a baby, would you do it? Another "what if?" concerning Hitler has to do with his attempts to be an artist. Hitler's artwork is rather cold and uninspiring, but it seems reasonable to speculate that if he had been a better artist he would not have turned to politics and the 20th century would have been completely different.
Writer-director Menno Meyjes explores this idea in the 2002 film "Max," in which Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) is still living in military barracks in Munich as Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles and is trying to make a name as an artist. He shows his work to Max Rothman (John Cusack), a Jewish art dealer who lost an arm in the World War and who is consumed by the idea of the subversiveness of modern art. Hitler disparages such ideas, considering them "blood poisoning." Rothman and Hitler argue about art, both in terms of the futurist movement and Hitler's lack of an "authentic voice" in his own work.
Meanwhile, at the barracks of the decommissioned army, Hitler is folding laundry and being courted by Captain Mayr (Ulrich Thomsen), who is teaching a class on propaganda. Mayr is a historic figure and it is in his responses to Mayr and others in the barracks that Hitler is his most articulate and persuasive in dispensing his particular brand of venom.
The major fault I find in this film is that both the script and Taylor's performance play too quickly to the ranting Hitler. One of the great distortions of Hitler's legacy is that the black & white film footage of Hitler speaking comes from the climax of his speeches, when he has worked himself and his audience into frenzy.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 20, 2003
Format: DVD
Max (Menno Meyjes, 2002)
Menno Meyjes (Empire of the Sun, Ricochet) steps behind the camera for the first time to direct his own controversial script. Like most controversial scripts, this one got built up a lot more than it should have by people who probably haven't even seen the blasted thing.
The story centers on Max Rothman (John Cusack), a wealthy Jewish art dealer not long after the end of World War I, before the massive German depression kicks in. He is a staunch modernist, but modern art isn't selling too well in a Germany that just got its head handed to it on a platter, and Rothman is looking for a new angle. He meets a young, promising artist by the name of Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor, from Almost Famous). Rothman and Hitler develop a testy friendship of opposites, with Rothman's libertinism and Hitler's asceticism grating against one another mercilessly, but the two men have a grudging respect for one another, and Rothmann has a genuine desire to help Hitler's career (if, one thinks, only for Rothman's impending success as an art dealer).
The story of the making of Max is a tale of Hollywood political correctness run roughshod over creativity. The film was originally to be produced by Amblin Entertainment, but Spielberg-though he thought the script a brilliant one-pulled out at the last minute because of fears of a backlash from the Jewish community. With production at a standstill, Cusack immediately forewent his salary because of his belief in the viability of the film. (In the end, it was produced by an international conglomeration of companies, including Film Council UK (Formula 51, Bend It Like Beckham) and Canadian producers Alliance (eXistenZ).
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