A Most Wanted Man (2014)
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Homayoun Ershadi, and Willem Dafoe
Directed by Anton Corbijn
A Most Wanted Man is buoyed by a good performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman -- one of his last -- as Günther Bachmann, the head of the covert German terrorism unit. Troubled by the notion that the 9/11 terrorists planned their attacks right under his nose, Hoffman's Bachmann heads to the drink and the smokes quite often in order to placate himself into a calmer disposition. A little more depth for his character would've been nice, but in the end, the film's focus is actually more on the purported terrorist Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) who just entered the country who Bachmann and his team are vigilantly following around. The tension in the film stems from the notion that Bachmann's undisclosed governmental team desires to simply track Karpov in order to hope he'll lead to bigger terroristic fish while the "official" German and American authorities (the latter headed by Robin Wright) want to jump on Karpov right away. This tug of war between Bachmann and his bosses is the most interesting aspects of the film, presumably basing itself in realistic tension and adding a layer to the film that we oftentimes don't see portrayed.
Unfortunately for the film, it's too long for its own good. Yes, the length builds the tension, but the payoff doesn't correlate to the running time. Instead, we get the same things over and over again -- Bachmann fighting with the higher-ups, Karpov talking with his human rights lawyer (played by Rachel McAdams), Bachmann following people around in his car -- and after the first admittedly good forty-five minutes, I found myself twiddling my thumbs. A Most Wanted Man wants to be called a smart thriller, but there simply aren't enough thrills to warrant the "thriller" moniker. A decent film, but one that's missing a bit of oomph.
The RyMickey Rating: C+