Rti03’s review published on Letterboxd:
Annabel Richter: I'm just a lawyer
Günther Bachmann: You are a social security worker for terrorists
A Most Wanted Man is one of those pictures i have been hearing about for a long long time, i probably first heard of it in the beginning of 2013, the first trailer came out that summer and the film was expected to land somewhere near Oscar season, maybe with a premiere at Toronto but ultimately non of that happened and the movie was delayed to premiere at Sundance 2014 where most reviews were mixed. A couple of weeks after it's premiere Philip Seymour Hoffman died tragically at the age of forty six and since then the buzz for the film as definitely gotten better. It had been a long wait but i was no longer that excited to see the picture and i did have some reservations going into it but i was still interested.
A Most Wanted Man is Directed by Anton Corbijn and it stars Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, Nina Hoss, Grigoriy Dobrygin and Martin Wuttke.
"When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg's Islamic community, laying claim to his father's ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man's true identity - oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Based on John le Carré's novel, A MOST WANTED MAN is a contemporary, cerebral tale of intrigue, love, rivalry, and politics that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene."
I went in without much of an expectation, hoping that the film would turn out to be decent and well i got to say that i was actually very surprised by this picture. The buzz is legit, this isn't just getting good reviews because of Hoffman's unfortunate death, this film deserves the buzz that it is getting and unfortunately i'm afraid this will not be seen by major audiences and soon will be forgotten.
Anton Corbjin is a photographer turned director, known for doing music videos and such, this was his third attempt at directing after having two mildly successful tries. Of the first two features he directed, i had only seen Control, i saw it a long time ago, i remember liking it, it had strong performances and it looked gorgeous but his second picture starring George Clooney, well that one i actually never got around to.
A Most Wanted Man is probably his best work so far, it's no doubt among the best pictures i have seen of 2014.
A Most Wanted Man is adapted of a novel of the same name, whose written by the same guy (John le Carré)who also wrote the novels Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener who have successfully been adapted to the big screen. This out of my head (without thinking too much) is the best spy film released in a while.
It's a spy film whose plot involves terrorism and all that jazz but for a movie that's labeled under such sub-genre it's actually a film that takes it's time and if you are expecting to see explosions and a lot of gun fire and sh*t like that, well this is not the movie for you. The film might lack that kind of action but there's no doubt that it still brings the intensity and the thrills that this genre is supposed to give and does it with a deliberately slow pace that builds up into moments of incredible tension that will for sure put you on the edge of your sit.
It's a movie that storytelling wise, is really straight forward, simple and has nothing to hide but beyond that it lays a very complex plot, that could have been confusing and ultimately become dull and boring but it's not, it's engaging and absorbing, i was completely hooked the whole way through.
The acting this film is also something of impressive, going in, i actually didn't realize how good of a cast this picture actually had. In the supporting cast we find names like Daniel Brühl who needs no introductions, he's a familiar face been in many pictures including last years Rush. Another German actress that appears and impresses is Nina Hoss, who was in 2012's Barbara, she here proves again to be an actress worthy of more good roles like this one.
Rachel McAdams is an actress that as proved to be talented and charming in the past but i can't help but to usually be suspicious about the quality of the pictures she's in. Here she gets a main role and she proves that she deserved it giving a solid performance and bringing some sex appeal to this dark and moody film. Robin Wright also appears in shape, she's another actress in which i had my doubts in, i'm not a fan of corny "classics" like The Princess Bride and she was never an actress i gave much attention to, but now with her Netflix success of House of Cards she has won a Golden Globe and given her name a new reputation. She shows here a short but noticed performance that shows that she needs to get some more light and viability on the big screen.
The star of the film though is no questions asked, Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last leading role performance. From the trailers, i actually had doubts on the quality of the performance because it sounded like the accent was awful but fortunately i am a dumb ass motherf*cker because i actually totally bought Hoffman's character and his accent too in a blink of an eye. It's a fantastic performance, it wont get any kind of recognition unfortunately but i do think, if pressed under the Supporting Actor Category and with some good back up, this performance could actually get some awards attention, but i don't really see that happening unfortunately.
His performance holds up the screen and in the end it is performance that ties up the whole film, it's a brilliant performance that makes it all the more sad and bittersweet since we will never see another lead performance by what was one of the best actors of a generation, certainly among the top 10 probably 3 actors who worked in the last twenty five years. Hoffman at the age of 46 leaves behind one of the most impressive careers of any working actor, if he had continued on working for more thirty years and if he had continued appearing as regularly in good films as he had been, then we would talk about one of the best careers by anybody who ever worked in the movie business. He was one of those actors, that a lot of times gave performances bigger than the films themselves, one of those actors you would see anything he starred in, an actor i always looked forward to see more and it breaks my heart to see that that ain't gonna happen. His presence will be missed.
Technically the movie is also very gifted as it was Control, it features some great cinematography, good score and editing too that give this mood a dark palpable mood to it.
A Most Wanted Man is probably going to be missed by many and disliked by a big deal of those who see it because of it's slow pace. But i was completely into it the whole way through, i thought it was smartly written and you get the clear feeling that the source material is well approached and directed, the performances are brilliant and it's technically impressive, plus it's often thrilling and tense as f*ck. This makes me looking forward to see more from some of the cast members and from director Anton Corbjin whose directing next years Life, a film about James Dean which i'm now very excited about.