18 September 2014

Author Sarah Alexander

A Most Wanted Man 2

A Most Wanted Man is the latest directorial effort from Anton Corbijn based on the John Le Carre novel of the same name and adapted by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkenss). The film boasts a sturdy A-list cast including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams and Rush's Daniel Bruhl and shows us the dark, under the radar frontline of Europe’s war on terrorism post 9/11. 

Set with a backdrop of Hamburg, the film starts by confirming that the city was used as the base for the planning of the 9/11 attacks. In order to prevent a future tragedy, an underground team has been formed to do what the Government are ‘constitutionally’ unable to do and in short, are there to question the identity and motives of unknown possible terrorist within the Islamic Community. We find ourselves presented with a Russian-Chechen man who arrives on the shores of the city with little more than a backpack and a beard -homeless, friendless, but not without purpose. His arrival speeds up an existing covert low-key, intelligence operation to discover the inner circle of a long suspected Jihadist member and the purpose and destination of a less than small inheritance claim. All of which, are to be exposed using any and all necessary means.  

Philip Seymour Hoffman brings another thrilling driven character to life through excessive chain smoking, drinking and basically not giving a shit. For a man in Gunther Bachmann’s position you would expect nothing less, even feeling a pang of sorrow for him in the final few scenes. He presents us perfectly with a man who has a love/hate relationship with his job, wants to save the world but on his own terms - not something his fellow officials approve of. 

Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe co-star as a lawyer and banker respectively, who are brought into the mix by the mysterious immigrant. Both give acceptable performances regardless of either being given more than a fraction of backstory, and help to drive the Bachmann team forward with their mission.

Russian newcomer Grigoriy Dobrygin stars in his first English language role as the tortured immigrant Issa Karpov and does a spectacular job. He gives the character heart wrenching depth and emotion that stays with you after you leave the cinema which in my experience of cinema going is extremely rare! I for one can’t wait to see what he does next after this show stealing performance. Daniel Bruhl and Robin Wright also co-star and provide A Most Wanted Man with well grounded, believable on-screen presence.

This film echoes today’s current climate and the war on terrorism faced by not just America, but the entire world. The audience receive a glimpse into a Government underworld which may or may not exist, whilst proving to us that the threat is still very real and these precautions must be taken. 

A Most Wanted Man has twists, turns, emotionally charged characters and a well written screenplay making it one of the must see book to screen adaptations of 2014. Viewers should be prepared for a gritty, thought provoking, cultural masterpiece rather than a big action, fast paced spy feature film.

It is another wonderful but much slower adaptation of a Le Carre novel and proves you can have an action/thriller without the bombardment of explosions start to finish. I am giving this a solid 7.5/10

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You can read more by Sarah on her website. She is on Twitter as @AViolentDelight

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A Most Wanted Man is now screening at Picturehouse at FACT. Tickets are available now from the Box Office, online and by phone on 0871 902 5737.