Max (2002) - Synopsis
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.
From Oscar-nominated screenwriter Menno Meyjes ("The Color Purple") comes MAX, a story of two unlikely friends facing an uncertain future and one's fateful decision to embrace a nightmare vision of evil. Deeply unsettling, defiantly humorous and ultimately, tragically moving, MAX is more historical fable than straight-ahead historical drama -- a tale that careens through art, politics, love, hope, intolerance, obsession and destructive malevolence to provide an original and intimate portrait of a major turning point in modern history.
MAX is the directorial debut of Menno Meyjes, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is produced by Andras Hamori ("Sunshine," "The Sweet Hereafter," "existenz").
"Meyjes mostly wanted Max Rothman to exist in a kind of state of timelessness -
to look, sound and feel as if he could exist just as easily in the 21st century, as if his idealism and energy could be part of today's culture…"