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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, January 05, 2015

Movie Review - A Most Wanted Man

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

What starts out very promisingly ends up being a bit too slow for its own good in A Most Wanted Man, a "thriller" about the leader of a secret German government intelligence agency's search for Muslim terrorists making their home on the streets of Hamburg.  Director Anton Corbijn's film is well acted, nicely directed, and adequately scripted, but the flick pulls the audience along with the notion that something surprising or exciting or intriguing will happen at the film's end.  To me, the flick's conclusion wasn't shocking or thrilling in the slightest as I found it rather obviously telegraphed from the film's onset.  Granted, there may be a detail or two that wasn't blatantly conspicuous, but not enough to really wow me.

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+


  1. Good movie. It kept my attention. Kind of a real bad ending though.

  2. No payoff in the end makes this one more disappointing than it should be...