Menno Meyjes 2002 Max starring John Cusack as Max Rothman a Jewish art dealer and Noah Taylor as the young Austrian artist Adolf Hitler. Max explores Hitler’s juggling career between politics and an art career. We see the unconventional friendship between Hitler and Rothman and how Rothman saw talent in Hitler’s work. Max askes the question what if Hitler was accepted as an artist? rather than turning to politics. Menno Meyjes takes us on a historical journey of what shaped the Nazi regime by artistic architectural designs that Hitler used to memorize the people of Germany under control by the Nazi Third Reich. We all know Hitler as the fascist tyrant that lead the world for Second World War but in Max we see Hitler’s fantastic insight into his artistic career that never was pursued.
Both Rothman and Hitler are WW1 veterans of Third Battle of Ypres. Rothman lost his arm in the war and returned to a respectable family and wealth however Hitler had nothing. Though Rothman lost his right arm ending his career as an artist he envisioned on the idea of capturing quintessence of war through art by opening art gallery that focuses on modernist art. What I admire about Max is how the film really did portray Hitler’s work as it was in reality. Hitler was a very accurate painter e.g landscapes and portraits but was never creative and for this he didn't get accepted into Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Max really does capture the struggle that Hitler had to endure during his early life as an artist. Rothman believed that Hitler had talent but had to really go deeper into his art and try to find his “authentic voice”. Rothman didn't want Hitler to show what he saw but what he felt and really capture what they both endured. Watching Hitler try and find his voice we feel very sympathetic for him, which is a great paradox. We know who he is we know what he does in the future but the film really does capture the moment of sadness. At the start of Max we see a very weak, shaken, disgruntled veteran over the Versailles Treaty who is trying to become an artist. As the film progresses we see Hitler slowly turn to politics but use his art as the weapon that help fuel the anti-Semitic propaganda for the national socialist movement known at that time the German Workers' Party.
Max is a brilliant insight into the artistic mind of Hitler and the inner battle to change himself to becoming a better artist. Max is not a Hitler sympathiser film but rather a sympathiser of what could have happened if Hitler pursed art and not politics. Max shows the very origins of the creator that shaped the Nazi ideology. With Rothman we see the early warning signs of the future of Europe with Hitler’s militaristic sketches of what he envision cultural and spiritual rebirth in Germany world but naively Rothman only sees them as a modernist art. Today those militaristic sketches would be seen Fascist architecture which is a combination of modernism and nationalism which greatly resembles that of ancient Rome. Personally watching Max I feel it visually grips and shows you the birth of the Nazi ideology through an artistic depiction.