Directed by Menno Meyjes, starring Noah Taylor, John Cusack, Molly Parker and LeeLee Sobieski.It's a tasty premise – a portrait of the young artist before he packed in painting in favour of world domination – and a controversial one. But those who would take exception to 'Max' without seeing it are like the geniuses who said that 'Trainspotting' glamorised recreational drug use. Yes, Menno Meyjes humanises Adolf Hitler in his directorial debut but the detractors can breathe a sigh of relief: Noah Taylor portrays the Nazi-in-waiting as an utterly unlovable character, devoid even of a sense of humour.'Max' is set in Munich in 1918 against a post-World War One backdrop. John Cusack plays a well-off fictional art dealer, Max Rothman, who has just returned from the war, minus one of his arms. This is a fact that serves to make him bitter – he can no longer paint – rather than evoke feelings of heroism. He meets the bedraggled young Hitler, who also fought in the war, but has little to return home to. While Rothman satirises the previous four years, describing it as "kitsch theatre", Hitler is one of a band of disaffected men that feels humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles and seeks to reclaim some of the floundering Germany's former glory.Modernism is the art style du jour and Rothman commissions Hitler to produce some work. However, the painfully average artist, who has little interest in the avant garde – s**t on canvas, to paraphrase - finds that his talents lie more in creating propaganda for the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party. As Hitler begins to share his hyper right-wing racial theories involving blood and purity, the half-Jewish Rothman looks on bemused. "You're a hard man to like, Hitler," he says. Meyjes' film is littered with such comments. Granted, it is difficult to make to make such a film and not include knowing observations, but too many of these can make the script appear cloying, almost farcical. Also, the way in which Cusack refers to Hitler by his last name throughout is a little incredible. And at times, Noah Taylor's portrayal seems over the top. Biographies of The Fuhrer describe him as highly strung but Taylor's spitting rage and facial contortions at times border into cartoonish, and – dare I say it - Basil Fawlty territory. Molly Parker, as Mrs Rothman, and LeeLee Sobieski as Max's mistress are both excellent in fairly thankless roles, adding shades of colour to a sometimes grey palate. Cusack is as engaging as ever, conveying Rothman's unending faith in the young artist, which ends ultimately in disaster.

Anne-Louise Foley