Based on a John le Carré novel of the same name, A Most Wanted Man is a 2014 British espionage-thriller, directed by Anton Corbijn to a screenplay by Andrew Bovell. It stars an excellent Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last leading role before his death, further underlining the film-world loss by his passing on. The rest of the cast includes many known names such as Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss.
What works with this film: It develops slowly yet very steadily; very solid performances and firm direction. The plot feels reliable all the way through until the ending (more about that in what doesn’t work well in this movie.) Well-tuned art direction and camera work. And, again, Philip Seymour Hoffman as the protagonist shines: he completely occupies the character, breathing life and credibility into it.
What doesn’t work in the film: a confusing start which is a hallmark of most le Carré based films. The story feels a little flat but ultimately this is corrected. The story takes place in Germany yet the characters are mostly played by Americans and non-Germans. This takes away from the authenticity. Finally, the ending includes, as expected, a major twist, and while, to some degree, it is realistic, it is also very unfulfilling, borderline disappointing.
All in all, A Most Wanted Man is a worthy film for fans of le Carré, espionage movies and for Philip Seymour Hoffman devotees.