A Most Wanted Man

Movie:  A Most Wanted Man

Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  It is present day Hamburg, and Gunther Bachmann (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is the head of a secret German counter-intelligence unit.  His people are tracking a potential Chechen terrorist, Issa Karpov, to find out his contacts and purpose for being in Germany.  Gunther is good at his job, but is constantly fighting internal bureaucratic wars with the larger and more powerful German police infrastructure who only want to arrest Karpov immediately and eliminate him as a threat.

An unlikely ally comes to Gunther’s aid, Martha Sullivan from the American embassy (Robin Wright), and she is able to buy time for Bachmann to spin his web to try and ensnare whoever may be complicit in terrorist plotting in Hamburg.  This web slowly extends out to Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), an idealistic American amnesty lawyer who is trying to help Karpov, as well as Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), a banker who may or may not have resources that belong to Issa Karpov.  To complicate matters, there are Muslim interests that affect the decision making of certain parties in Hamburg.

This is not your James Bond or Bourne spy movie with hi-tech gadgetry, car chases, beautiful women to romance and eccentric evil bad guys to battle.  This is the real deal of how the spy world operates.  It is complicated, unglamorous, and betrayals are likely at every turn.   The movie was produced by John LeCarre, who authored the novel.  LeCarre previously wrote such acclaimed novels as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  He knows a thing or two about espionage, having worked for MI5 before he became a novelist.

This is a terrific film.  You may burn a few brain cells as the movie unfolds, but it is worth the effort.  Unfortunately this is Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final film, but it is a hell of a swan song for him.  He is an amazing actor.

Actors To Watch:  All of them.  A great cast.

Dialogue Nuggets:  “Men who trusted you died.  And that stays with you forever”.

“It takes a minnow to catch a barracuda; a barracuda to catch a whale”.

“You are a fucking social worker for terrorists”!

 

 

 

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