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MAX

The ability to spot a spark of talent in a seemingly pedestrian individual is a gift—one which gallery owner Max Rothman possibly demonstrated when he took a wannabe painter named Adolf Hitler under his wing.

(In stores now)


CAST: John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski, Molly Parker, Ulrich Thomsen, Judit Hernadi, Istvan Kulka

DIRECTOR: Menno Meyjes

"‘You're an awfully hard man to like, Hitler.’ Few serious films could survive a line like that. Max certainly doesn't…Meyjes clearly saw the fictional Max debating modern art with this homeless Hitler as a chance to reveal the human side of a monster. It's a big idea, but the film itself is small and shriveled." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

The movie has the temerity to imply that had Hitler found a patron, his life might have taken an entirely different turn...It is a historical fantasy connecting fact and wild supposition into a provocative work of fiction that poses ticklish questions about art and society. And the inability of Rothman, the quintessence of European urbanity and intellectual sophistication, to grasp the implications of Hitlerworld points ominously toward the future...'Max' may be a brashly inventive film, but it is not an offensive one." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"I don't care whether Adolf Hitler had his feelings hurt as a young man. Nor do I care about any of the other factors that contributed to the development of his morally deficient personality, resulting in his rise in Germany and, finally, to the Holocaust. I just don't want him humanized for me in that way by a movie like 'Max.'" --Marshall Fine, The Journal News

"The movie winds up reducing the tragic history of the 20th century to a paradox of bad timing." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"The tedium of Meyjes's discourse is overwhelming but certainly not as much as the preposterous comedy by which he repeatedly foreshadows the holocaust bubbling on the horizon...'It's inhuman what they're doing to these birds,' says Hitler staring at a nightingale locked inside a cage... And when Max introduces Adolf to his wife and fellow associate, the associate flippantly says he's never heard of him. 'Oh, you will,' says Max." --Ed Gonzalez, Slant

"...just because people are objecting to 'Max' for all the wrong reasons doesn't make it a good film, and it's not. It's a bizarre curiosity memorable mainly for the way it fritters away its potentially interesting subject matter via a banal script, unimpressive acting and indifferent direction." -- Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"It comes off as something between ‘The Producers’ and ‘The Last Bunker,’ where poor Anthony Hopkins played der Fuehrer…hate me for laughing, but it was amusing to see the greatest murderer in history earnestly concerned with the plight of caged birds. The dynamic between Max and Hitler is similarly comic, though there's no evidence it was meant to be so…the movie seems to absolve Hitler. He wasn't evil, he was just undiscovered." Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"What, we may ask, parroting Soviet realism, is the purpose of this movie? What is its message?…I think the key is in Rothman, who is a kind liberal humanist, who cares for the unfortunate, who lives a life of the mind that blinds him to the ominous rising tide of Nazism. Can a man like this, with values like this, survive against a man like Hitler, who has no value except the will for power? It is the duty of the enlightened state to assure that he can. Dissent protects the body politic from the virus of totalitarianism." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times