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Max [DVD] [2003]

John Cusack , Noah Taylor , Menno Meyjes    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £7.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Max [DVD] [2003] + The Ice Harvest [DVD] + Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil [1998] [DVD] [1997]
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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: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, English, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Mar 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001B3ZBO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,518 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The dark connections between art, desire and evil fuel Max, an alternate-history fantasy that imagines what might have happened if a Jewish art dealer named Max Rothman (John Cusack) had befriended Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) when he was a frustrated artist, before he turned to politics to vent his hatred. Some critics have expressed fear that even to attempt to make Hitler understandable is to diffuse or dismiss his malignancy; but watching Hitler vacillate between Rothman's attempts at mentorship and the encouragement of an ambitious military officer demonstrates the pettiness, desperation and craven need that can bring horror into the world. Cusack portrays a generous man with simple decency and not a trace of grandstanding, but Taylor--with glittering eyes and lips twisted with bile--is both fascinating and repellent in an impressive performance. An intelligent and complex film, Max deserves to find an audience. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Munich 1918. The First World War is over and the city is packed with German soldiers returning to find their country in ruins. One soldier is Max Rothman (John Cusack), a promising artist who lost an arm in the war and with it his ability to paint. On his return, Max opens an art gallery where he meets a struggling artist called Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor). Max isn’t completely convinced by Hitler’s artistic abilities but he encourages his creative talent anyway. Meanwhile the lonely penniless Hitler becomes increasingly envious of Max’s wealthy German Jewish family and their popularity. Disillusioned with art, Hitler turns increasingly to politics, setting into motion the most cataclysmic period in world history.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From third-rate artist to monster 23 Aug 2007
It starts in Germany in 1918. The army has lost; peace is about to be signed. Max Rothman (John Cusack), who lost an arm fighting, has set up a gallery in an old factory. He features modernist painters and sculptors who are just starting to break through, painters like Max Ernst and George Grosz. Max is skeptical of all the fine words about war and peace. He's smart, amusing, married with two kids, and has a mistress. After what he's been through in the war and sees in Germany around him..."There's no future in the future," he says. His Germany now is full of rampant poverty and unemployment, tremors of Socialist revolution, casual anti-Semitism among the priviledged, and Jewish scapegoating among many others. Max is Jewish.

He meets by chance a fellow who desperately wants to be a great painter, a corporal still in the army who happpened to be in Max's army unit. The painter's name is Adolph Hitler (Noah Taylor). Hitler is angry, resentful, clammy, thoroughly unlikeable. His sketches are competent but not exceptional. Max thinks there might be something in Hitler's work if Hitler would dig deep enough to put on canvas what he feels, not just what he sees.

Well, it didn't turn out that way, of course. Hitler has a third-rate talent for art, but a first-rate talent for inflaming people with the oratory of hate, of anti-Semitism, of blaming Jews, homosexuals, "mongrels" and foreigners for Germany's defeat. Since we know what happens historically, the interest and tension in the movie arises in the pull between art and politics. Hitler is not portrayed as a monster, but as a creepy, thoroughly unsympathetic creature who discovers that "politics is the new art!"

Cusack and Taylor give very strong performances.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the Devil 17 Mar 2005
I never thought I'd see a movie that actually tried to portray Hitler as a decent chap, but this one pulls it off in style. It would have been good with a "happy" ending, but maybe that's just too far-fetched for what the film was trying to do - understand the conditions in which young(ish - Hitler is already thirty) minds are so easily warped and twisted until they become monstrous.
Cusack is Max Rothman, and he makes a good job of it - I didn't realise he could do both this and "Being John Malkovich" and ace them both. Noah Taylor makes a convincing Hitler (without the trademark moustache), a small grey splotch in an otherwise colourful milieu. The director has gone to inordinate lengths to distinguish between Rothman's whirling, fresh, high society, and Hitler's miserable, colourless and ugly barrack life.
The film is expertly constructed, with every second filled with tension, and a genuine question mark over the ending. I have never watched such an unpredictable film; there are shots which play with this ambiguity throughout and the characterisation of the Jews as loyal subjects is pleasing, having seen so many films in the past where history is projected backwards, the most obvious of these being the line in "Onegin" where early nineteenth-century gentlemen "predict" the Russian revolution.
A word of warning, though - make sure you have something lighter to watch (e.g. an episode of your favourite comedy) afterwards, as you will need reassurance that the world is not all bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Max 27 Dec 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this as we were having a "John Cusack" film night and I wanted some lesser known titles. I watched it in advance and although the plot idea was interesting - what if Hitler had become an artist instead of pursuing his political ambitions? - I couldn't get into the characters. A bit flat and quite boring in parts.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This, along with The Singing Detective (nullify my opinion now, if you like) was one of, I think, the best films of last year. The film follows Max (John Cusack), a Jewish art dealer, and his fraught relationship with an angry, angry Hitler (Noah Taylor), living in squalid barracks and carrying a huge chip on his shoulder. With the guidance of his Jewish mentor, he gains some semblance of control, but we know he won't maintain this pretense of reason...
So the film is scary, teetering on the edge of hysteria, blending 1930's suburbia with omnipresent anarchy- a clashing of naïvity and genocide (strangely poignant in a rather bizarre Aryan puppet-show) and it's cast, from bit-parts to starring roles flesh out brilliantly- the films' adpetness at creating thumbnail portraits with a few words and a side-long glance is astonishing.
There have been gripes about it- that it's unfulfilling of it's huge potential, that it's historically innaccurate, that Hitler's eye-brows were slightly better trimmed, but I think the deft way in which the film handles small issues while still dealing with far-raching themes and, at the end of the day, a topic that has scarred the last century is admirable- and as for accusations of innaccuracy, I believe Hitler abandoned any thoughts of a career in art before the first world war, so the film doesn't pretend to be text book.
'Tis a work of art, a labour of Bohemian love and one of the few films I've seen with the line 'Hitler, c'mon, I'll buy you a lemonade' in it. It's fiction...
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