Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Max Manus: Man of War

I watched Max Manus: Man of War while bicycling this weekend.  It's due to be removed from Netflix streaming end of month, so I was running out of time.  I'm very glad I caught it before it was gone.  It's an incredibly good movie.  Funny in parts.  Sad in others.  Full of introspection.

Three parts I really liked where 1.) any part where you realized every house and home in Norway during WWII had a pile of wood in front of it.  I've read about how horse crap used to be a huge issue for cities and we just never hear about it now.  Similarly, I never gave any thought to the fact that not having electric or gas heating might require an amazing amount of stored wood on every corner.  2.) Where Max is explaining to Tikken (the woman he's interested in) that he misses volunteering in the Finnish Winter War because everything was so straightforward there and being a resistance fighter is full of confusion and, basically, paperwork.  You see cuts of him in the Winter War, and he's killing Russians in their machine gun nest point blank, and by chasing them down with his knife, after which he has an emotional breakdown.  It does look more straightforward, but it definitely doesn't look better. 3.) Near the end when he's having a toast with his friends.  He's not toasting their passing.  They're all toasting his survival of the war from the grave.  A very moving scene and exceptionally well done.

The history is interesting.  I knew about the sinking of the Donau, although primarily because of it's hauling of Jews to Auschwitz.  But I wasn't overly familiar with the Norwegian resistance.  And although there was some contention that not everything was true in Max's biography, he did see machine gun fire and bombardment and had to deal with PTSD.

If you get a chance to watch it, it's well worth while.  And I'd recommend it as a double feature with Tavlisota, also a great film about Scandinavia during WWII.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Very glad to have caught it the other night before it disappeared from Netflix.

I'm in full agreement on parts two and three. The toasting scene in particular was very moving. An exceptional job of conveying, even to someone who hasn't gone through anything even remotely like that experience, the sort of things that a person must feel when finding themselves one of the few survivors after so many other friends have been lost in the fight.