- 1 hr 46 min
Max is a powerful and thought-provoking drama film directed by Menno Meyjes, released in 2002. The film takes place in Germany, in the aftermath of World War I, and explores the relationships and conflicts between two of the most influential minds of the 20th century: the young Adolf Hitler, portrayed by Noah Taylor, and Max Rothman, played by John Cusack, a Jewish art dealer and painter who lost an arm in the war.
Max Rothman is a bohemian artist who runs an avant-garde art gallery in Munich. He is fascinated by the young painter who visits his gallery, Adolf Hitler, who is still struggling to make a name for himself. Max sees something in Hitler's art that he believes is beyond the surface: a deep-seated anger and alienation that speak to the disillusionment and hopelessness of the times. Max takes Hitler under his wing, eager to mentor him and bring out his true artistic potential.
As Max builds a relationship with Hitler, he begins to notice the undercurrents of hatred and anti-Semitism that run beneath the surface of his art. Max is a Jew, and he knows all too well the horrors that can be inflicted upon his people. But he also sees the potential for greatness in Hitler, the possibility that he could be one of the great artists of the age.
As Max and Hitler's friendship deepens, Max becomes increasingly conflicted. He feels responsible for the young painter's artistic development, but he also sees the hate and violence that Hitler is capable of. Max's own life becomes complicated as well, as he struggles with the trauma of losing his arm in the war and the societal prejudices that come with being a Jewish artist in Germany.
Leelee Sobieski plays Liselore Von Peltz, a talented but impoverished artist whom Max takes under his wing. Liselore and Max develop a close relationship, and Max encourages her to pursue her own artistic vision, even as he tries to mentor Hitler. Liselore provides Max with comfort and emotional support throughout the film. Her character also provides a contrast to the darkness of Hitler's art, as her work is filled with joy and life.
As Max and Hitler's relationship becomes strained, Max must wrestle with the question of whether he has been complicit in Hitler's rise to power. He confronts Hitler about his anti-Semitism and his plans for Germany's future. Noah Taylor's performance as Hitler is captivating and chilling, depicting a man who is both charismatic and dangerous. The film builds towards a dramatic and sobering conclusion that leaves the viewer with much to ponder.
Overall, Max is a powerful exploration of the relationship between art and politics, and the potential for creativity to be twisted towards dark ends. The film does an excellent job of drawing out the complexities and contradictions of its characters, especially Max, who is both deeply sympathetic and flawed. The performances, especially those of Cusack and Taylor, are top-notch, and the cinematography is breathtaking, capturing the beauty and decay of post-war Germany. Max is a thought-provoking, unforgettable film that explores some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Max is a 2002 war movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 56.