Munich, 1918. German-Jew Max Rothman has returned to much of his pre-war life which includes to his wife Nina and their two children, to his mistress Liselore von Peltz, and to his work as an art dealer. He has however not returned to being an aspiring painter as he lost his dominant right arm during the war. He is approached by an aspiring painter, a thirty-year old Austrian war veteran named Adolf Hitler, who wants him to show his works. Although he doesn't think the paintings are all that original and he doesn't really like Hitler as a person, Rothman takes Hitler under his wings if only because of their camaraderie of being war veterans, and knowing that Hitler had nothing and no one to come back to after the war unlike himself. Rothman believes that Hitler has promise if only he can find his original artistic point of view. In part out of need for money, Hitler, on the urging of Captain Karl Mayr, agrees to work for the army as a political spokesman in anti-Semitic propaganda. ... Written by
To help get this controversial movie financed, producer/star John Cusack took no salary for acting in the lead role. See more »
When Max sees Adolf Hitler for the first time, he correctly calls him "Corporal", but the uniform Hitler is wearing has no rank insignia. German Army uniforms in both world wars displayed NCO ranks on the collar. See more »
[George Grosz crashes and drunkenly runs stumbling in, looks around at the paintings on display, and begins to vomit]
George, so glad you like it.
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Excellent for the art-house crowd, too deep for the popcorn crowd
The tag line, "Art + Politics = Power," should give people some idea of the gravity of the film. This role may have been the Oscar that slipped through Cusack's hands due to the controversy surrounding the release. The sad part is, it was started by people who had not even seen the film, and when they had seen it, they retracted their statements. The movie was very well-executed and tasteful, and it was refreshing to see Cusack lose himself in a character. He does well with complexity, and it shows here.
Noah Taylor made a particularly realistic (and as a result particularly unsettling) performance as Hitler. Definitely see this film and don't expect blockbuster two-dimensional acting and predictable plot twists. Watch with a glass of wine and a group of friends who will explore the aspects and finer points with you. It's a conversational piece if nothing else, but one that will leave you on a tangent of what-ifs for quite some time.
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