Caty Alexandre’s review published on Letterboxd:
The espionage thriller that takes the intensity to the max, even following a slow pace. Not for a second let us take your eyes off the screen, not only because of the degree of intensity that passes to the audience and the gripping story but also through a sublime cinematography. With a very dark and intelligent atmosphere, A Most Wanted Man always transmits the right emotion at the limit of suspicion.
After 9/11 attacks the world has never been the same. And a brief introduction at the beginning of the film explained us that Mohamed Atta, one of the terrorists who engineered those attacks, planned them in Hamburg without any suspicion by the German Government. After the terrible events the German Government created Secret Intelligence Services that act in an attempt to dismantle possible terrorist activities. Their role is substantially important, since Germany has a minimum Muslim community and many of the Muslims who seek to immigrate there just want a better life, but Mohamed Atta supposedly would have the same intention, but after all his arrival in Germany had plans that would lead to one of the most horrific events of World History.
Günther Bachmann, magnificently performed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, is the man who leads those services. Bachmann is a tough, lonely man who is very dedicated in what he does. The arrival of a potential terrorist in town shakes the team that is already for months with another case in hands. Eventually these two cases will be crossed and Bachmann and his team will have no easy task in their hands.
The film explores the complexity not only of the Secret Service but also those who work in them. People who are dedicated and abdicate a normal life not only for the sake of the national but also global security. But as in everything, and here A Most Wanted Man can retract it very well, there are also dirty and treacherous side. The world is full of men with good intentions, and also full of those who always play their interests guiding others as puppets reaching the final trap.
It is very interesting to see the social factor in this story, the approach regarding the judgment that the world gives regarding the Muslim religion stereotyping lot of good people, what passes for terrorists only because they share the same religion, skin color or costumes, after 2001 make the world tremble. There are just good and bad human beings. I enjoyed to see this message transmitted in the film. Another very interesting aspect is to see the Anti-American side, which of course would not be shown in this way if the film had been done by an American director.
Talking about performances, I have to highlight Philip Seymour Hoffman again, a very heavy role performed in an absolutely great way, as he always accustomed us over the years, whether he in a leading or supporting role. Another actor who deserves evidence is Grigoriy Dobrygin with a very touching performance. The film has other names known as Robin Wright, Williem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl and Rachel McAdams that surprised me by the intensity that he gave in her interpretation. Undoubtedly an actress who needs the more prominent roles in her career.
The final moments of the film are absolutely powerful and with very little dialogue we can take a lot from what we are seeing. Almost like a poetic reflection of all that we watched from the beginning.
Unfortunately this was the last leading role of Philip Seymour Hoffman. An absolutely talented actor who will be very missed, but their excellent performances will remain forever. RIP.