Meyjes (The Color Purple) makes his directorial debut here and shows considerable skill both with words and visuals. Nothing is remotely predictable; we never anticipate where the next shot will be--it's witty and askew and very clever as it touches lightly on very heavy themes. Despite a production design that's a bit too obsessed with shades of black, the film looks fresh and profoundly artistic, reflecting the avant-garde atmosphere perfectly and astutely capturing the darkly shaded performances. Cusack is especially good--it's that meaty, adult role we've been waiting to see, and he gets it absolutely right. And Taylor is equally absorbing, even though Hitler-as-written is a bit more problematic. He's just too sinister and slimy to be believable. Surely he wasn't a creepy genocidal maniac at this point in his life; why are the filmmakers afraid to let us have a bit of sympathy with him? And there's no sigh of the charisma that would get him elected to public office. Merely deciding to make this film was a very brave move, but it's a pity the filmmakers didn't go that one step further to make something that actually turned political correctness on its head ... not turning Hitler into a hero, but showing him as a human.
dir-scr Menno Meyjes|
with John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Molly Parker, Leelee Sobieski, Kevin McKidd, Ulrich Thomsen, Peter Capaldi, Janet Suzman, David Horovitch, Andras Stohl, Heather Cameron, Joel Pitts
release US 27.Dec.02; UK 20.Jun.03
Come dancing. Max and his wife (Cusack and Parker) love each other ... despite everything
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