A Most Wanted Man Reviews
(Full review TBD)
A Most Wanted Man
3 And A Half Out Of 5
A Most Wanted Man is a character driven political thriller about a few good-hearted infiltrators whose attempt to pull of an impossible yet utterly glorious task ends up with dilemmas on each step.
The stakes aren't higher as one usually gets in such tales, but the inner politics is so well constructed that you cannot not communicate with its designing. The screenplay is so tight and written like a poetry on the sense that it enfolds each time a different perspective, angle, character and a piece of information that somehow sets the clock at zero.
And since the feature is build upon the race against time factor, the sense of urgency never fades away even though it ticks for an entire two hours. Corbign's world is busy in all its act (even in its first act, it doesn't spend its time on laying out the plot for the audience) where the viewers has to work hard to catch up with it.
It is rich on technical aspects like using its props, amazing camera work, fine editing and sharp sound effects although fails on pitching a palpable background score. Goose fleshing revelations, tricky and convoluted plot and eye-popping cinematography are the high points of the feature that keeps the audience tangled in its world.
Bovell's adaptation might be gripping and layered but Corbign's execution surpasses the script and sensibly respects each frame projected on the screen. Hoffman oozes power, vulnerability and emotional aspects of his character unflinchingly with an amazing supporting cast like McAdams, Dafoe Wright, Bruhl and Krieps.
A Most Wanted Man is not what we wanted but needed, in an industry where most of the mission were taken over by action and chase scenes, it is inexpressibly refreshing to encounter a chess game.
It's sad to say that this is the last full-scale Philip Seymour Hoffman performance we will see on screen. Luckily, his performance as Gu?nther Bachmann, a German intelligence operative, is one of his best roles since 2005's Capote. A Most Wanted Man also benefits thanks to director Anton Corbijn's (Control and The American) touch and a top-notch cast (Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright and Grigoriy Dobrygin). This slow-burning spy thriller will sneak up on you at the end.
Based on John le Carre's 2008 novel, the film takes place post 9/11 where the stakes are high against Muslim communities. Hoffman runs a small-scale spy unit that tracks Hamburg Muslim communities. Tensions arise between the Germans and U.S. security when an unknown half-Chechen, half-Russian, tortured immigrant, Issa Karpov (Dobrygin) shows up in Hamburg. Karpov hires a human-rights lawyer Annabel Richter (McAdams) to collect his father's fortune from a German bank run by Thomas Brue (Dafoe). So is Karpov doing this for his own pleasure or is it to fund terrorism?
Hoffman wants to know and so does American diplomatic attache Martha Sullivan (Wright). Things get twisted as Hoffman and Wright duke it out in a cat-and-mouse game until the end. This tightly packed script by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) relishes maximum suspense that will leave audience members at the edge of their seats. The true master in this film, of course, is Hoffman, who really transforms into his character. From the uncanny German accent, to the drinking, to the chain-smoking, to the lifeless glances at his workers ... Hoffman does it all in his tour de force performance.
Many will be in awe with his performance, like I was, while others may have a harder time at the slow-burning spy pace. In the end, it was worth it. I have always admired Hoffman's acting and it saddens me that we won't be able to see anymore lead performances from him again. To the late Hoffman, who goes out with a bow ... we will miss you.