Add to the impressive cannon of recent World War II resistance films, that include "Black Book," "Flame and Citron" and "Army of Crime," this engaging true story about a group of Norwegian freedom fighters--called the "Oslo Group"-- led by the fiercely idealistic young man of the film's title. In a thoroughly convincing performance that beckons to Thure Lindhardt's weighty portrayal as Flammen in "Flame and Cirton," Aksel Hennie emits a balance of youthful ambition and bravery against the Nazis occupying his country. Co-directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning painstakingly capture the five-year period in Norway during which special agent Max Manus and his small brigade of guerilla soldiers launch successful terrorist attacks against the Nazis. Production values remain incredibly high throughout the film as intermittent flashbacks reveal Max's front line experience fighting Russians in the snowy terrain of Finland. The combination of Thomas Mordseth-Tiller's pitch-perfect screenplay and full-blooded performances from a great cast of supporting players (that includes Agnes Kittelsen and Nicolai Cleve Broch) make "Max Manus" a must-see. A unifying theme of films like "Max Manus" is a condemnation of all military occupations, and consequently a defense of resistance fighters in all such countries.
Rated R. 118 mins. (A) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)
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