Director: Anton Corbijn
Featuring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright
Age Rating: 15
Running Time: 122 Minutes
In our company’s first official post-work film club, we watched Anton Corbijn’s slow-paced, tense and engaging espionage thriller ‘A Most Wanted Man’, starring Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman who passed away 7 months prior to the release of this film.
Based on John Le Carré’s novel, this contemporary feature focuses on a half-Russian, half-Chechen immigrant, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), seeking asylum in Hamburg’s Islamic community, his sympathetic but out of her depth immigration lawyer, Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), and both German and US security agencies, with contrasting opinions and approaches to establishing this man’s true identity and overall motive.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Günther Bachmann, an espionage agent who leads a team that seeks to develop intelligence from the Islamic communities and the brutally tortured Issa Karpov, opposed to the aggressive strategy of security official Mohr (Rainer Bock) who believes in capturing the asylum seeker and deporting him back to Russia. These approaches contrast throughout, which leads to some dramatic twists and turns in the plot line and a nail-biting ending.
This two hour-long feature hosts an impressive American cast, showcasing their German accents throughout. Although one could mistake Seymour Hoffman and Dafoe for Germans, Rachel McAdams does tend to struggle with her accent, impacting on her performance in this role. Camera work is gritty and realistic, giving the viewer a real feel for Hamburg and for a UK produced crime thriller, drawing parallels with BBC crime dramas such as ‘The Missing’ and ‘Spooks’.
Personally this film is a good watch, not spectacular or mind-blowing, but a great representation of the ongoing battle with immigration and terrorism which security agencies deal with on a daily basis, and without giving away too much, the ending will leave you with ‘your heart in your mouth’.
Recommendation: Make sure you are awake and alert when watching this film. It is a tense and interesting watch, but not one to be taken light-heartedly. Definitely worth witnessing Philip Seymour Hoffman in action once more; paying homage to his impressive acting career. Personally, worth a rental and a buy for any Seymour Hoffman fan!