A Most Wanted Man is a film from Dutch director Anton Corbijn who some may know as the director of the film The American (2010). A Most Wanted Man has a mix of high quality and high caliber actors which include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Brühl. A Most Wanted Man is a spy thriller adapted from a novel of the same name written by John le Carré.
A Most Wanted Man is a film which is takes place in Germany where we witness two teams of spies from both Germany and the United States as they monitor a half Chechen, half Muslim immigrant who is trying to withdraw his fathers money from the bank. Both security teams have a keen interest in Issa Karpov who is played by Grigoriy Dobrygin. But the main character who we watch is Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character of Günther Bachmann. Günther must both monitor and gain intelligence on Issa and his meetings with his banker Tommy Brue who is played by Willem Dafoe. While at the same time balance and deal with the American pressure on his operation which comes from Robin Wright’s character Martha Sullivan.
Basically what’s happening in the movie is that Issa (the Chechen Muslim) tries to get his fathers money out of the bank, which is really money that was not earned in a good way (dodgy money). The Americans and the Germans have a different view on how to deal with this suspected terrorist and how to use him to their advantage. While I thought that overall the plot was really great for this film, for the first 5-10 minutes I was a bit lost at the beginning with what exactly was going on and the context for what was happening. There is a lot of political chatter and context that someone would need to understand to get this movie fully and some people might not grasp the movie at all. A Most Wanted Man is definitely what I’d call a political film that tries to discuss the war on terror from a European perspective. I actually found the majority of the film though to be very interesting.
Apart from the first few minutes where the film was sort trying to establish itself, I found that I was very drawn into the world that Anton Corbijin was showing us in the film. Some of the acting performances in A Most Wanted Man were very entertaining and possibly some of the better performances I’ve seen in a film so far this year. This is quite likely the last film you will see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a lead role and on the big screen sadly because of his recent passing, except for maybe his role in The Hunger Games later this year. But his work here was really something that was great. I have not seen many of his films so I don’t want to say it was his best work, but I would say it was definitely very good work from the actor. I thought that he really became the character he was playing and was very real and authentic.
Willem Dafoe was another actor that I thought probably made the movie a bit better. I think his first seen came in after the first 10 minutes where the film was starting to get good, so after he appeared I felt the movie really took off and was something very good. I quite enjoyed Willem Dafoe’s scenes with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and some of the other actors as well such as Rachel McAdams who was also well cast for her role. Robin Wright and Daniel Brühl didn’t really make much of an impact in the film, but that might just be because they were overshadowed by much larger and recognisable names.
As a director I thought that Anton Corbijin did well to create a tense atmosphere for this thriller and also sort kept me guessing. I didn’t really know what was going to happen throughout this film and even towards the end I was surprised by what happened. I don’t really even get surprised in films that much, especially lately and for doing that, it more than made up for the confusing start. I liked the music that was used in the film and overall it seemed like a well made piece of cinema that was well constructed by the filmmakers who did good work in making A Most Wanted Man.
This is not a film that you go and see for action or something like that. This is a thriller with some political messages that focuses a lot on terrorism, spying and different agencies in the world. It’s a film that that will keep you guessing as to who is really the “good guys” and who is really the “bad guys”. I don’t really see much films like this, particularly this year getting made and thriller’s like this are my favourite genre of film. I usually don’t watch these films in the cinema, choosing instead to watch them either when they are on TV or renting them when they come out. But since this is likely the last time you might see Phillip Seymour Hoffman on screen I would recommend going to check this out.
Overall this is a great movie with only a minor issue in getting started in the early stages. I don’t think it matters though because as a whole, it’s a great film and one I would happily watch again when it comes out on DVD. There are some great actors here with some excellent performances, particularly from Phillip Seymour Hoffman who really became his character and played a very convincing Günther Bachmann. I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a good thriller that may keep them guessing, which might even surprise them in the end.