Max Manus

Max Manus (right)

Max Manus, at a seemingly modest production price of 55 million kroner[1] (ca. 9.6 million dollars), is the most expensive film ever produced in Norwegian history. Though this might not sound like much money, for a country with a mere five million citizens that’s an unheard of amount of money to go towards the production of a film. The quality in production and aesthetically pleasing screenplay appear to merit the budget, not to mention twelve accolades for everything from best actress to best film.[2] The filming style is somewhat reminiscent of that used in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, and many of the imitation films which followed. The film was largely regarded as a great triumph for directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, with an estimated 25% of the entire Norwegian population having screened the film.[3]

The film features Aksel Hennie (Buddy, Hawaii-Oslo) in the role of Max Manus, a daring, altruistic, and slightly neurotic character, who is quickly promoted to 2nd lieutenant and granted authority in leading an underground resistance in Norway shortly after fighting in a volunteer corps against the Germans abroad.

The real Max Manus passed away in 1998, and his widow Tikken Manus advised the directors to portray him as realistically as possible, and that included his fallacies. Max, even in his younger years was known to drink quite heavily, and thus this was carried over onto the silver screen. According to Allen Johnson, a writer with the San Francisco Chronicle, his continued alcoholism was largely due to survivor’s guilt which both he and his surviving comrades experienced long after the war’s end.[4]

The film was quietly released on BD and DVD in the United States in June 2011.[5] The success of Max Manus, set Rønning up for his next big production Kon-Tiki, which boasted of a 17 million dollar budget.[6]


[1] See Chandler, Jess. (2009).“The Max Manus Effect: A Discussion of Norwegian Cinema.” The Foreigner.

Retrieved from: http://theforeigner.no/pages/columns/the-max-manus-effect-a-discussion-of-norwegian-cinema/

[2] See “Max Manus.” (2009). Norwegian Film Institute.

Retrieved from: http://www.nfi.no/english/Norwegian+Films/Search+the+film+database/Film?key=37632

[3] See Chandler, Jess (2009) above.

[4] See Johnson, Allen, G. (2011). “’Max Manus’: Film tells of Norway’s WWII hero.” San Francisco Chronicle.

Retrieved from: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/06/NS1G1IMSFK.DTL#ixzz1mRAlJXBG

[5] See “Max Manus Gets National U.S. Debut with DVD/Blue-Ray Release.” Norway.org.

Retrieved from: http://www.norway.org/News_and_events/Culture/Film/Max-Manus-Gets-National-US-Debut-with-DVDBlue-Ray-Release/

[6] See Retrieved from: http://www.screendaily.com/news/production/zwart-partners-with-max-manus-team-to-form-motion-blur-films/5030629.article


By Aaron Nolan © 2012

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