Thursday, 18 February 2010

Max Manus: Movie Review

Max Manus: Movie Review

Max Manus
Rating: 6/10
Cast: Aksel Hennie, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Agnes Kittelsen, Christian Rubeck, Ken Duken

Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Based on true events, Max Manus is the tale of one man's life in the resistance and his battle to conquer his own inner demons.
Having fought the Soviets in Finland, Manus (played by Norwegian Aksel Hennie) finds himself back in Norway just as the German occupation is underway.
Joining the growing resistance movement, he quickly manages to garner himself a reputation as a rebel fighting against censorship and spreading propaganda.
However, he quickly finds himself in the firing line - and is arrested by the Germans. Promptly escaping to Scotland, he finds himself embroiled in a special sabotage group who try to bring down the Nazi occupation from within.
But as Manus continues to fight the ever present oppressors, he soon has to fight his own battles as he loses those around him he loves.
Max Manus is a film of boys own war and to a degree, derring do. It's unflinching in its gritty portrayal of the Norwegian fight against the Nazis - and scenes of street side gun battles are bloody, violent and bleak. There's a palpable sense of dread as Manus and his team take on saboteur missions - because of their initial lack of training and degrees of incompetence, you're never quite sure whether they'll survive or not.
And yet, it's wrong to dismiss Max Manus - production wise, it looks stunning with stomach churning flashbacks to Manus' time in the trenches in Finland. It also doesn't shirk from the grim reality of combat during war - and the effects it has on the main protagonist as his friends are killed and he finds his place in the world uncertain.
It's impossible to watch Max Manus without recalling last year's Dutch resistance flick, Flammen and Citroen which has an uncannily similar storyline.
That said, the end packs an emotional punch - Manus's compassion for his comrades and his portrayal of the feeling that in reality not all of them will return from the missions give it a sad and affecting aura.

All in all, Max Manus is once again a reminder of the ultimate price paid by those willing to sacrifice everything for the freedom of their country - and an acknowledgement that worldwide, many of us owe a debt we can never repay.

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