This, along with The Singing Detective (nullify my opinion now, if you like) was one of the best films of 2003. The story follows Max (John Cusack), a Jewish art dealer, and his fraught relationship with an angry, angry Hitler (Noah Taylor), living in squalid barracks and carrying a huge chip on his shoulder. With the guidance of his Jewish mentor, he gains some semblance of control, but we know he won't maintain this pretense of reason...
So the film is scary, teetering on the edge of hysteria, blending 1930's suburbia with omnipresent anarchy- a clashing of na´vity and genocide (strangely poignant in a rather bizarre Aryan puppet-show) and it's cast, from bit-parts to starring roles flesh out brilliantly- the film's adpetness at creating thumbnail portraits with a few words and a side-long glance is astonishing.
There have been gripes- that it's unfulfilling of its huge potential, that it's historically innaccurate, that Hitler's eye-brows were slightly better trimmed, but I think the deft way in which the film handles small issues while still dealing with far-raching themes and, at the end of the day, a topic that has scarred the last century is admirable- and as for accusations of innaccuracy, it goes that Hitler abandoned any thoughts of a real career in art before the first world war, so the film doesn't pretend to be text book.
'Tis a work of art, a labour of Bohemian love and one of the few films I've seen with the line 'Hitler, c'mon, I'll buy you a lemonade' in it. It's fiction... It's been a while since I saw it at the cinema, but I'm fairly sure that none of the events portrayed happened- I have a GCSE in history to prove it- so let's sit back, enjoy, spook ourselves with Taylor's frightening performance, bask in the warm glow of Cusack's benevolence, and wallow in the sheer perfection of acting in general, atmosphere and attention to (purely fictional, mark me) detail.
James says: let the few descrepancies they take with history pass, and enjoy this thought-provoking flight of fantasy, I mean, we all know Hitler couldn't paint- but if John Cusack told me he was my father, I'd believe him