movie film review | chris tookey

Max Manus: Man of War

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  Max Manus: Man of War Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
6.25 /10
Max Manus Aksel Hennie, Ida Nikoline "Tikken" Lindebr?kke Agnes Kittelsen
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Directed by: Espen Sandberg, Joachim Roenning
Written by:

Released: 2008
Origin: Norway/ Germany/ Denmark
Length: 118

World War II action, well worth seeing.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Don’t be put off by the title, which sounds ominously like Austin Powers: Man of Mystery. This is an old-fashioned, full-blooded, non-ironic World War II movie, based on the true story of a man who, along with some like-minded chums, made a lot of trouble for the Germans during their occupation of Norway.

Like Terminator: Salvation it’s about resistance fighters. But unlike the Hollywood blockbuster, this movie takes the time to establish its hero as a flawed, uneducated but extremely interesting human being. It shows us not only his heroism, but also why his wartime experiences scarred his soul.

Despite elements of darkness and depth, it’s a stirring, often uplifting story in which you never cease to feel involved. Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, along with their screenwriter Thomas Nordseth-Tiller, ensure that the action sequences carry emotional weight, the bloodshed seems real, and people are movingly upset when loved ones die.

There are moments of humour, mainly of the graveyard variety, as when a senior resistance leader welcomes Max on to his team with the wry warning “Everyone here is either stupid or crazy”. It’s meticulously researched as regards period detail, and the whole thing is full of excitement and suspense.

At the head of the unknown cast, leading actor Aksel Hennie (pictured) – who has played Hamlet in the theatre - is tremendous, especially when you contrast his intelligence and restraint with the absurd, macho posturing of the much better-paid actors in Terminator: Salvation.

There’s nothing innovative about it, and it lacks the sensationalist twists and turns of Paul Verhoeven’s recent saga of Dutch resistance, Black Book, but it’s easy to see why this has become the most successful Norwegian movie ever. In the all too unlikely event of it being shown anywhere near you, I would heartily recommend it.

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