Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the best actors on the planet. For more proof, feel free to check out “A Most Wanted Man”, Anton Corbijn’s tense spy thriller, based on John le Carré’s 2008 novel, in which Hoffman gives a performance that is flawless in every detail. He plays Günther Bachmann, a German intelligence operative who runs a small-scale spy unit that tracks the Muslim community in Hamburg. Enter Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a newly arrived Chechen-Russian who hires lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) to collect his father’s fortune from a German bank. Is Issa funding terrorism? Günther wants to find out, and that’s the hook that will lead you into the film’s twisty ride. Having portrayed so many flamboyant, far-out characters over the years, Hoffman might seem an unusual choice for Günther, but as usual he has transformed himself completely. This is a perfectly-measured performance, and he is surrounded by an exceptional and well-chosen ensemble led by Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright and the always watchable Rachel McAdams. Like “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (another movie based on John Le Carré’s novel), “A Most Wanted Man” is a tense, intelligent film, and a perfect showcase for the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman. If the mass moviegoing public prefers something more routine or formulaic, it’s their loss.
Categories: 3/4, drama, mystery, The Twenty-First Century
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