2006-03-30 12:03

Munich, 1918: In a world reeling from World War One and the shock of the new, everyone's mind is on the future. It is a time of high-octane debate and dreams of drastic change, a time when the lines between art, politics and personal beliefs have been blurred beyond reckoning. The only question that remains is this: now what? In what direction will things turn next?

For Max Rothman (John Cusack), a soldier just returned from the Great War, the present has certainly turned out radically different from what he imagined. He returned from the war, one of the walking wounded, a damaged man trying to sort out his life. Once a promising artist, he lost his right arm and with it, his ability to paint. Yet the future still draws Max like a magnet, fueled by the restlessness, typified by the birth of modernism. Now, he opens up what quickly becomes an acclaimed art gallery.

Also caught in the Post-War struggle are his beautiful wife (Molly Parker) and children, a once picturesque family, now torn by uncertainty and Max's infatuation with his alluring artistic mistress (Leelee Sobieski).

But then, at a celebratory party for the opening of his new show, Max meets another man interested in the future: a fellow war veteran and aspiring painter, a man with no family, no home and no friends. His name: Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor), and his decision to transfer his creative talents to politics, where at last he finds an outlet for his raw beliefs, sets into motion the most catastrophic period of the 20th century.

What the critics are saying:

"...really little more than an imaginative, cinematic footnote to Hitler's rise to power."
- Jamie Russell, BBCi

"Ultimately, the movie's failing is that it concentrates too much on Max, when Hitler is by far the more compelling individual."
- James Berardinelli, ReelViews

"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

What if the young Adolf Hitler had become a successful artist instead of turning, out of frustration, to politics? Max examines the intriguing connection between Hitler's intense creativity and his intense evil.

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