Adam N’s review published on Letterboxd:
I previously thought I had an issue with some modern spy thrillers. While wonderfully directed and artistically crafted with suspense, they seemed to largely negate characters and development, which causes the twisty and thrilling plot to fall in on itself as not connecting to the characters causes apathy towards the plot. This seemed mostly an issue with me, as the films continued to go on having great critical success. A Most Wanted Man sadly felt the exact same way. Good actors played bad, boring, and bland characters that served largely as cardboard cutouts for the espionage filled plot. However thinking about it I believe I have narrowed my issue down away from it being something I have against some modern spy thrillers. Instead I believe it is a problem I have with film adaptions of John le Carré's spy novels, as I looked at the two previous films that this issue was most present, The Constant Gardener and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and both along with this film, lo and behold, are adapted from Carré's novels.
While I'm not saying I can judge a book from its film adaption, it seems strange that this is an issue I have had three times with him (It isn't quite as present with the 1965 film The Spy Who Came in from the Cold starring Richard Burton, an adaption of a Carré novel, but I must admit it is somewhat) and it is a puzzling observation.
Anyway as I said this template of good directing, good acting, boring characters, and boring plot fit very well with A Most Wanted Man. While its final act entertained me, I felt near dozing off during the middle parts of the movie, as well as confused and uninterested in the characters, which the film neglected to build or develop for any more than a fleeting mention of Hoffman's character having a past trouble leading agents in Beirut which isn't even built upon, explained, or relevant. The film is never bad, just perpetually languished. A good swan song performance by Hoffman (not counting Mockingjay), but the film could have been better.