Review: Max Manus Man of War Blu-ray

Max Manus: Man of War DVD boxSTUDIO: Music Box | DIRECTOR: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg | CAST: Aksel Hennie, Agnes Kittelsen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Ken Duken, Christian Rubeck
6/28/11 | PRICE: Blu-ray $38.94, DVD $29.95
extended featurette
NR | 118 min. | Foreign language war action adventure | 2.35:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | Norwegian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The most expensive film ever produced in Norway, 2008’s Max Manus: Man of War ia a rip-roarin’, rootin’-tootin’, dropped-behind-enemy-lines World War II action adventure. Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg tell the true story of a group of Norwegians who risk everything to undermine the Nazi occupation during the Quisling era.

Max Manus: Man of War movie scene

Aksell Hennie is World War II hero Max Manus: Man of War.

Max Manus (played by well-known Norwegian leading man Aksel Hennie) and his band of resistance fighters are national heroes in Norway. The movie shows Max, after fighting Stalin in the invasion of Finland, joining the King and his expatriate army in Scotland. His “boys” then return home to engage in sabotage: Cue the close calls, explosions and daring escapes, culminating in an attack on the German transport system, an ongoing series of actions that helped precipitate the Nazis’ ultimate defeat.

Askel Hennie and the rest of the cast bring appropriate swagger and blonde good looks to their roles. Despite the old-fashioned derring-do, there is a modern sensibility to the film: Hand-held cameras move in for close-ups, there’s a dash of CGI and our hero has booze-fueled, Hamlet-like, futility-of-it-all monologues. (This is Scandinavia, after all!) And for Max, romance does not come easily.

Max Manus is an exciting retelling of a fascinating chapter in WWII history. And if you like this film, you should also check out Ole Christian Madsen’s stylish Flame and Citron, a fine 2008 thriller about the Danish Resistance movement.

Included as a bonus feature on the Max Manus disc is a 45-minute documentary with interview footage and archival material of Manus and his daughter, as well as the film’s directors, cast and crew.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.