Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Most Wanted Man

Plot: Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) sneaks into Germany with a plan to claim his dead (Soviet General) father's bank account. Charity immigration lawyer Annabel (Rachel McAdams) tries to help him with asylum,  but she gets snapped up by a German anti-terrorist group headed by Guenther Bachmann (Phillip Seymour Hoffman.) They get Issa to entrap another immigrant who was suspected of sending money to a terrorist group. With help of banker Tommy Brue ( Willem Dafoe), and after endless chatter with other spy agencies, the movie drifts to its pointless non-ending.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: John Le Carre writes spy vs spy books with many characters and shifting loyalties. I am not a fan of Le Carre and have only read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Le Carre sells a zillion books, and I can only assume that the novel is better than the movie.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman has a great performance -- inhabiting this role, and I am sorry he is dead, but the movie is dull and not enjoyable.

What was the point of this movie? --rivalry between spy agencies trumps all -- it is not about life & death or even money & power -- its about bureaucracy. The ending was especially pointless. All the previous action was negated by the spy vs spy rivalry.

Visually there were some bright spots, the opening shot of two hands climbing up over the sea wall in Hamburg was cool, and the shot of William Defoe's house were cool.  The simple soundtrack hurt because it made the move seem slower. 

Cast: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Grigoriy Dobrygin

Directed by: Anton Corbin based on the novel by John le Carre

Rating: 1.5 stars: Not recommended. I could have given it two stars based on Hoffman's performance, but I did not enjoy myself, and it was just slow. It is occasionally interesting like an acting seminar might be interesting. 

More: Why are spy movies dying out? There certainly are more CIA agents than ever before. It might be because the war on terrorism is just too vague. It helps for the spy to be the underdog, and survive by stealth and wit -- none of that here.