Never heard of Max Manus? Well join the club. He was a legendary Norwegian resistance fighter during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. That’s the story being told in Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s “based on a true story” movie “Max Manus: Man of War”, which really could have done without the “Man of War” part because that makes it sound like some lame B-movie action flick with T&A, which the film really isn’t. The trailer is pretty harrowing, and the film, starring Aksel Hennie as Max, looks like it’s got some brutal gunplay in it.
After fighting the communists in Finland, Max Manus returns to Norway, currently occupied by the Nazis. He joins with the Norwegian resistance movement in their fight against the Germans but is arrested. He manages to escape to Scotland where he receives training before being sent back to Norway to carry out various sabotage missions against the occupational force.
Returning to Norway with his friend Gregers Gram, his first mission is an attack on German supply ships. He is spectacularly successful, and soon he becomes a special target for the Gestapo commander Siegfried Wolfgang Fehmer. Manus, however, avoids capture, and with Gram and Gunnar Sønsteby he forms the so-called “Oslo-group”.
Stockholm becomes a meeting point for Norwegians in allied military service. Here Gram introduces Manus to Tikken, who works as a Norwegian contact for the British consulate. The two soon develop a special relationship.
As the war becomes more and more brutal, many of Manus’ friends lose their lives in the struggle against the Germans, and he starts to blame himself for being the one who survives. In a meeting with Fehmer he realises that everybody is a victim of the meaninglessness of war.
Starring Aksel Hennie, Agnes Kittelsen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Ken Duken, Christian Rubeck, Knut Joner, Mats Eldøen, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Viktoria Winge, Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Jakob Oftebro, and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.
Max and company will make their North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival September 18 and 19.