DIRECTORS: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg | WRITER: Thomas Nordseth-Tiller | CAST: Aksel Hennie, Agnes Kittelsen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Ken Duken, Christian Rubeck, Knut Joner, Mads Eldøen, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Viktoria Winge, Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Jakob Oftebro | Norway
Max Manus is good old-fashioned biopic of a heroic Norwegian saboteur fighting against the Nazi occupation. Aksel Hennie plays the hero as a sometimes rash man of action with little patience for reflection, and if Manus does have an adult’s weakness for alcohol and cigarettes, he’s temperamentally still an adolescent. Manus’ and his comrades’ acts of sabotage are not quite as grippingly recreated as they might have been, and even if true it’s sometimes difficult to believe that Manus took so many bullets — including one that was accidentally self-inflicted — and kept on going. Beautifully filmed with perhaps too much care taken to recreate the look of early 1940s Norway — was everything so clean and did everything look so brand new then? — but without much depth of feeling. The acting is generally quite good, but Ken Duken’s dangerously sexy and charismatic Siegfried Fehmer, the German Gestapo officer on Manus’ tail, is perhaps too sexy and charismatic.