Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Reveals a key aspect of fascism's cynical use of art and architecture to mesmerize a weak and vulnerable society.
  2. 88
    A peculiar and intriguing film.
  3. Menno Meyjes' provocative film might be called an example of the haphazardness of evil.
  4. 83
    In many ways, a smashing success. It's built not only on a casually clever script but on two expertly balanced performances.
  5. Reviewed by: Clint Morris
    80
    Immerse yourself in two fantastic performers, a polished narrative (by Menno Meyjes) and a “could have happened” scenario. It plays all too real if you ask me.
  6. A flawed film but an admirable one that tries to immerse us in a world of artistic abandon and political madness and very nearly succeeds.
  7. An intelligent film with a sophisticated understanding of art and the significance it played in Hitler's psychology.
  8. 75
    Scholars, psychologists, and theologians can debate the point at length, but there's no doubt that Meyjes' approach is as provocative as it is controversial.
  9. 75
    The result is suitably upsetting and intriguing, despite a simultaneously tacky and too-neat climax.
  10. Noah Taylor does startlingly well by this role, but the conceit behind the film is a bizarre piece of wish-fulfillment.
  11. Pits good taste against rousing intellectual provocation, and, happily, allows both to win.
  12. A historical fantasy connecting fact and wild supposition into a provocative work of fiction that poses ticklish questions about art and society.
  13. It challenges, this nervy oddity, like modern art should.
  14. This film is a philosophical musing -- a humanitarian speculation, not a drama about real people, historical figures or not, who seem fully formed.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    The movie keeps you mildly interested all the way up to an elaborately staged final scene, yet it might give viewers the same queasy fooling-with-the-Holocaust feeling some felt for Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful."
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    In the end, the lure of the gimmick proves too much for Meyjes, clearly a writer-director of talent. If Max were half as audacious, it would be twice as good.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    The film is ultimately too glib in its suggestion that Hitler's discovering his career path was a matter of sheerest chance, even an accident.
  18. No doubt about it, the movie is morbidly fascinating. Moreover, Cusack gives a delicate and agreeably world-weary performance.
  19. The whole film occupies pretty much the same continuuum -- glimmers of intelligence followed by moments of outright hysteria punctuated by bouts of sheer haplessness.
  20. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    50
    What does make the film disturbing is the way in which it positions Hitler as a mere mouthpiece for what was already in the air, a role he was convinced to play after suffering one disappointment too many at the hands of Jews like Rothman.
  21. 50
    Ultimately, Meyjes focuses too much on Max when he should be filling the screen with this tortured, dull artist and monster-in-the-making.
  22. 50
    For all its flaws, Max does propose a credible young Hitler, played by Noah Taylor as an unpleasantly opinionated, arrogantly ascetic, defensively vain autodidact with a diffident sneer and a bottomless well of grievance to draw upon.
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    As a ravishingly photographed, high-minded meditation on the potential of art and therapy to exorcise the vilest sort of psychological poison, it is positively riotous -- an Everest of idiocy.
  24. 40
    Suggests that had young Adolf Hitler managed to get his art show, the Holocaust might never have happened. This seems absurd, not to say insensitive.
  25. A serious and thoughtful movie that probably does not mean to trivialize the Holocaust and blame the victim. But it is playing with fire nevertheless.
  26. 30
    Quirky, unsatisfying portrait.
  27. Just because people are objecting to Max for all the wrong reasons doesn't make it a good film, and it's not. It's a bizarre curiosity memorable mainly for the way it fritters away its potentially interesting subject matter via a banal script, unimpressive acting and indifferent direction.
  28. Mad Max just sails off into nonsense.
  29. 25
    "You're an awfully hard man to like, Hitler." Few serious films could survive a line like that. Max certainly doesn't.

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