Jared’s review published on Letterboxd:
A Most Wanted Man is light on grandiose action sequences, but heavy on political gamesmanship and moral ambiguity. It is a film that demands your attention, and pays back in dividends. It is a film that is as poignant as any other film that has been released in recent memory, and it is a film that is executed in the finest fashion possible.
In one of Hoffman's last performances, he delivers one of his best. His character is typical for Hoffman, bogged down in pressure, invariably near a flask, and haunted by past demons; but not letting any of that get in the way of a greater task. He brings a certain intimidating feel to the role, a demeanor that screams experience and distance. Also worth mentioning is Rachel McAdams, who veers from her romantic track record into the role of an idealistic human rights lawyer, inspired by the desire to rebel against her father. She takes the case of Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) who is a man of interest among multiple international parties. The entire cast embodies the intense, selfish attitude the film inherits magnificently.
The world of A Most Wanted Man is full of manipulation, complexity, and paranoia. It is vividly representative of the post-911 mindset. More than that, it touches on government corruption, racial stereotyping, religious motives, and the abuse of human rights. Above all, and most interestingly, it touches on the dysfunctional nature of government today, international or domestic. The film's entire premise derives from the product of mistrust, and the parties involved have not changed their ways. It is highly representative, although it takes place in Germany, of the current situation in Washington, as Hoffman on multiple occasions meets with a US government worker to fill her in on the happenings of the case. Each of the scenes screams mistrust and irony, but the characters act politely and never let any of it come to light. The film inhabits a political world in which connections, cunning, and self-interest trump conviction, morality, and trust.
A Most Wanted Man is shot beautifully, and completely poignant for this generation. It is a cold, clinical film that does not lay anything out for the viewer, but examines it from a distance. RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman, you will be missed.