'A Most Wanted Man' is an espionage thriller film directed by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American). The film stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles prior to his tragic death, as a German espionage agent who leads a team to locate Issa Karpov, a Chechen immigrant who may be using his late father's money to fund terrorist arms dealings. As the chase unfolds, it becomes unclear as to whether this immigrant really is an extremist or a victim.
There is nothing I can think of that was a fault when I saw this film. There really was nothing I didn't enjoy about it. The thing that stole the show for me was Phillip Seymour Hoffman's incredible performance as the whiskey drinking, cigarette smoking, Gunther Bachmann. What was great about it is that he played a character who was simply just your average man you could bump into on the train and forget the moment he left sight. There is nothing spectacular about him, as he is slightly overweight, drinks, smokes etc. Yet the level of intelligence he carries with him is one that makes him an incredibly compelling character. He was the excellent portrayal of what spying really is. Men sitting at desks on their phones gathering intelligence and thats what I thought was one of the best aspects of the film. Willem Dafoe was brilliant as the cautious and anxious Mr Brue, the owner of the bank from which Karpov is trying to withdraw his father's money. However, next to Hoffman of course, one of the best performances was that of Rachel McAdams who played Annabel Richter, Karpov's lawyer who develops a protective relationship with her client. She plays the part superbly as she is able convince the audience to question whether her client is an extremist or simply a victim of extremism.
Spying in the real world is not all James Bond action and peculiar villains. It's all about intelligence and gathering it through the eyes and ears you have at your disposal. I found that when I left the cinema, I realised that there was next to no action sequences, save a kidnapping here and there, and I thought to myself, "Wow. I just sat through that entire film completely engrossed in it, all because of the dialogue and story." One of the highest praises has to go to John Le Carre's thrilling story-telling. His most notable work is that of 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' and I think we can all agree that it is one of the greatest espionage thrillers to date. The reason being because it painted an incredible real picture of what the Cold War was actually like. Everyone had something to hide, and secrets and intelligence are the true weapons when it comes to war. 'A Most Wanted Man', does this also as Le Carre holds up a mirror to society to show us that there are eyes and ears everywhere and that secrets are something of an incredible luxury these days as there is always someone who is listening.
Overall, 'A Most Wanted Man' is an incredibly intelligent thriller, with intelligent, writing, intelligent characters, and stellar performances from all those involved, especially that of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. One may even be inclined to say that it was one of the best performances her had ever done. All in all, one of my favourite films of the year so far. 5 out of 5