In post World War I Munich, a wealthy Jewish art dealer, Max Rothman, takes fellow war veteran and struggling artist, Adolf Hitler, under his wing. But their relationship soon becomes strained as Hitler shows a growing passion for preaching anti-Semitism.
It may come as something of a surprise to learn that one of the most evil figures in history was once a homeless artist who hung out with Jewish art dealers. z
In Max, writer-director Menno Meyjes has boldly pieced together events preceding Adolf Hitler's rise to power, using the fictitious Max Rothman as a representative of the dealers whom a young and lonely Corporal Hitler once tried to impress with his drawings.
Meyjes creates a deep dynamic in the future F³hrer, which comes to the fore as Rothman attempts to channel Hitler's frustration and anger into his art, while German Army Captain Mayr pushes him into using it as a propaganda tool.
Taylor plays Hitler with remarkable balance, showing us the big-mouthed madman who's also a naive, idealistic artist. Cusack, meanwhile, is utterly engaging as Rothman, citing lines such as, "Come on, Hitler. I'll buy you a lemonade" without any awkwardness.
A controversy magnet in the States, this is actually a sensitively-handled, thought-provoking history lesson.