"A Most Wanted Man"
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Running Time: 122 minutes
An adaptation of John le Carré’s 2008 espionage thriller, director Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man boasts the final lead performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Wearing a tired face, looking unapologetically rumpled, and employing a German accent that speaks volumes about the weariness of his an intelligence officer, Hoffman achieves the level of sharpness that’s necessary—or so it seems—to play the spy games that unfold in this slow-burning examination of European and U.S. anti-terrorism operations. Hoffman stars as Günter Bachmann, who is tasked with finding a half-Chechen, half-Russian young man who may or may not be a terrorist. His every move is monitored and securitized by his superiors, the German police, and the CIA. So he treads carefully when he compels Rachel McAdams’ immigration attorney and Willem Dafoe’s banker to help him locate his quarry. As with The American, Corbijn refuses to hurry A Most Wanted Man. The events unfold in at a deliberately measured pace, which not only reflects the hurdles Bachmann must overcome to find his man but also allows Corbijn to get inside the head of an overly cautious and contemplative secret agent who does what he does for a reason. Seymour skillfully conveys Bachmann’s meticulousness while keeping just below the surface his frustration at the slowness of which his manhunt unfolds, the pressure he’s under to get results, and the possibility that he’s being second-guessed by Robin Wright’s CIA agent. As there a lot of moving parts in A Most Wanted Man, Corbijn’s introspective approach ensures that Bachmann’s investigation isn’t hard to follow. The film also addresses some of the questionable tactics adopted by the United States during the war against terror, resulting in a typical le Carré ending that cuts both ways for its protagonist. Hoffman, of course, made contributions to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 and Part 2 before his sad and untimely death. But it’s unlikely his character, Plutarch Heavensbess, will be front and center. So savor A Most Wanted Man and Hoffman’s quiet but intense performance, as this gripping thriller probably represents the last opportunity we’ll have to appreciate one of the finest actors of his generation.
Aired: July 24, 2014
Web site: http://amostwantedmanmovie.com/