MAX AND ME is an animated feature, which relates the true story of a Polish Born priest, Maximilian Kolbe. It highlights the terrible and harrowing trials that he faced during the dark days of World War ll, when the Nazis swept across Europe and in particular the awful atrocities that the Third Reich inflicted upon the Polish people, causing them hardship, pain and worse. Maximilian Koble, dedicated himself to helping Polish Jews, who were as we all know the focus of Hitler’s venom and the target of cruel Nazi persecution. The Priest’s involvement in helping the Jewish community was discovered by the infamous SS, and as a punishment Maximilian was sent to Auschwitz, the German death camp. Although incarcerated and living in awful conditions dealing with death, hardship, sadness and humiliation every day, Koble, still remained strong and focused and determined to help, and offered to die in place of a stranger, who was so distressed about what would happen to his wife and children after he was killed. The film tells this sad and touching story via a meeting in the present day, and during a conversation between an old man, Gunter and a somewhat rebellious teenager DJ. The older man using the story of the Priest to hopefully teach DJ, some lessons in how to behave and also how to value life, love and know what sacrifice truly is.
The musical score for MAX AND ME is the work of accomplished and respected composer Mark McKenzie, the Maestro has written a score that is so emotive and touching that it is hard at times not to shed a tear or three, his music has always had a profound emotional effect upon me personally. The composers gift for melody and talent in both composition and orchestration shine through on each assignment as he fashions, creates and moulds delicate and fragile tone poems that become embedded in the listeners sub-conscious and linger long in the memory after one has finished listening to the soundtrack. This is a score that has many sides and includes the emotive and poignant violin performances of Joshua Bell, the use of the violin is the foundation of the score and the composer builds the remainder of his work around the central themes that he has created for the instrument. The opening cue I AM is something that I sat and listened to somewhat mesmerised, as violin and subtle underlying strings work together in a brief but affecting introduction. Track 2, TWO CROWNS VISION is also highly emotive, and the composer combines both orchestral textures with choral work, to create a sound and an atmosphere that is stunningly beautiful. It is like he is painting a picture taking the colours from a palette and lovingly applying them to a blank canvas. MAX AND ME is one of those scores that one listens to and before you know where you are you have Goosebumps and hairs on the arms and back of the neck standing up.
This is a work that as a collector of fine film music or just music I have to recommend fully and without reservation.
The composer fully employs the beautiful sound of combined and solo voices with subtle nuances performed on strings and woods, with piano and harp punctuating and supporting along the way, which are in turn enhanced by brass flourishes and rumbling percussion. This is a work that is effective within the context of the movie but is also moving and hypnotising away from those images as it stands alone as music to be listened to, appreciated and savoured. Of course, there are a number of darker musical moments and these too are highly effective and haunting, as the composer still manages to keep these melodic and attractive above all. I adore the way in which the composer, gradually builds to a crescendo of sorts within certain cues, only then to introduce a solo piano, which performs a heart-breaking passage that gets to the soul of the listener each time. You as a collector need to have this score, the fragility of the themes is superb, the melodies are inspiring and haunting, what more could you need, Available now.