Poster for Max

Spring 2003 Edge series

Sunday, May 4, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 1h 46m
USA / Germany / Canada / Hungary

A daring, controversial film that delves into the depths of Adolf Hitler’s early years, Max – a Special Presentation of the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival – is a smart, provocative drama that does the nearly impossible: it gets under the skin and explores the mind of a man we only know as an evil, monstrous lunatic. In his impressive directorial debut, Menno Meyjes (the screenwriter of The Colour Purple and The Siege) has crafted an adventurous and incredibly relevant film that makes connections and provokes ideas worth considering about the emotional makeup of a tyrant. In 1919, young Adolf Hitler (played with mesmerizing intensity by Noah Taylor, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Shine), still recovering from his part in the calamitous battle of Ypres, returns to Germany a bitter, angry man who still harbors dreams of becoming an artist. He is introduced to his would-be mentor, Max Rothman (played by the suave and worldly John Cusack, High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich), a wealthy German Jew who becomes an art dealer after the war costs him his right arm and his own painting career. Focusing on the unique relationship between Hitler and his Jewish patron, the film explores Hitler’s flirtation with the notion that art can energize the human spirit and in the process illustrates how art and politics fuse in Hitler’s mind. Politics, Hitler comes to believe, is the new art. Lacking his trademark mustache but sporting a shaggy wave of hair and a face constantly contorted with rage, Taylor creates a brave and unforgettable portrait of a man whose creative frenzy blooms only in public expression, while John Cusack adds another impressive performance to his list of subtle, humanistic portrayals.

“A refreshingly new take on a familiar story.” – Schlomo Schwartzberg, Box Office Magazine