Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigori Dobrygin
Running Time: 122 minutes
Out among the plethora of ‘war on terror’ movies that are in favour, not all in a positive way, A MOST WANTED MAN is an adaptation of the mighty John le Carré that’s been turned into a screenplay by Andrew Bovell, who’s best known for the impressive EDGE OF DARKNESS and also known for a number of well-received plays.
The film follows Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a Chechen Muslim who escapes illegally to Hamburg with some plans of his own but when he arrives, unknowingly starts to gets caught up in the international war on terror. This spy thriller is finely paced from director Anton Corbijn and twists the usual tale of immigrants causing trouble by focusing around Issa, a lost soul who’s trying to put right previous wrongs.
In truth, Issa is a side note to the other huge characters on display throughout A MOST WANTED MAN with Philip Seymour Hoffman being the centrepiece with a compelling performance in one of his final on-screen roles. Corbin’s lingering shots on the late, great Seymour Hoffman as spy Günther Bachmann are vital to building the tension of the narrative but they also fully revel in his unrivalled brilliance at fully occupying a character with uninhibited abundance.
Notable praise must also go to Nina Hoss as Irna Frey, their relationship is a significant part of proceedings and you can sense how close they are, plus they’re both experienced in playing the spy game and she’s strikingly focused. We also get to see Rachel McAdams as Annabel Richter, a human-rights lawyer who Issa Karpov turns to when he first arrives in Hamburg. With her role in True Detective not too far away, it’s good to see her taking on more challenging roles. Furthermore, there’s Willem Dafoe flipping away his more recent darker side to play a banker who’s trying to put right from once went wrong with a family-owned corporation. His presence is as important as always and they all play an important part to the narrative.
A MOST WANTED MAN is quintessentially about the characters individual lives as we explore both their flaws and positive features. It’s compelling and builds to a conclusion that’s fitting to the world they exist in. It’s not necessarily thrilling if you’re looking for action but if you enjoyed the likes of the recent TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY then this slots perfectly and continually encourages you to keep concentration as you’ll be fully engaged right up to a beautifully powerful finale.
[usr=3] A MOST WANTED MAN is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 19th January. You can pre-order here.