Follow Genre: thriller, spy movie
Director: Anton Corbijn
Distributor: eOne
Duration: 117 minutes

A Most Wanted Man (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Interesting plot, good acting, lovely visuals
Bad: The German accents, might be lacking action for some audiences
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When people think of spy movies in the year 2015, they mostly envision the image of a suave James Bond, a sophisticated hitman, surrounded by beautiful women and equipped with lethal weaponry, saving the world. However, at certain times, we are introduced to a film about espionage that does away with all the glitter and glamour. A Most Wanted Man is one such film, one that brings us to the underbelly of the world of counter-intelligence and shows us just how dark it can get there.

a-most-wanted-man-bannerA Most Wanted Man follows around Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a refugee from Chechnya, who comes to Hamburg illegally. His presence alerts Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a German intelligence officer, who leads an anti-terrorism unit. He suspects that Karpov is a dangerous terrorist and starts shadowing his every move to find out what his plans, and who his contacts are. While doing that, he is also investigating a local Muslim philanthropist named Dr. Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), who he suspects of funneling money to terrorist activities.

Meanwhile, Karpov receives help from Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), a lawyer who helps illegal immigrants to find legal residence. She is asked by Karpov to help him find Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), a banker who can help him out. Things get harder for Bachmann when two rival agencies also set their sights on Karpov, German security official Mohr (Rainer Bock) and American agent Sullivan (Robin Wright) both want a piece of the cake and are reluctant to play along with Bachmann.

a-most-wanted-man-2A Most Wanted Man is an interesting adaptation of the work of John le Carré, a writer who inspired other films such as The Tailor of Panama, The Constant Gardener and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Le Carré is an ex-officer of the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6, who used his experience to create a more realistic setting for spy thrillers. Knowing this, audiences that come looking for high speed car chases, slow-motioned gun fights and other cool looking action scenes should find another movie. For the people that want a more introverted take on an investigation and a high focus on characters development, this one should be right up their alley.

The film is directed by the Dutch Anton Corbijn, who rose to fame with his iconic photographs of and his work for music bands such as U2 and Depeche Mode. His cinematic debut in 2007 (Control) already showed a keen sense of vision, something which he continues in this feature. Every frame is perfectly placed and wonderfully shot. It’s just a pleasure to watch it, simply for the camera work.

Adding to the quality of the film is its cast. Everyone is pulling off an amazing job. With Grigoriy Dobrygin, we have an newcomer who’s doing excellent, he’s perfect in being an unknown threat, but still forces you to care about his life. Robin Wright, who was brilliant in House of Cards, plays an excellent rival for Bachmann, somebody who you’re never sure about which side she is one. She comes over so friendly and understanding, but it’s clear from minute one she has her own agenda. Rainer Bock is outstanding as a pencil pusher, whose attitude becomes annoying from the first minute we are introduced to him. Willem Defoe also does a great job as an extremely rich banker, playing the role very low key, without his trademark lunacy.

a-most-wanted-man-1Rachel McAdams has come a long way since her days on Mean Girls and has demonstrated that she has a pretty firm grip on the whole comedy genre. In A Most Wanted Man she breaks that mold and demonstrates that she can handle her own in a more demanding role as well. Lastly, we have the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, the great actors who we sadly lost last year. A Most Wanted Man was his last film and offers us a testament of his abilities. He portrays a man of the edge, combining confidence with his trademark vulnerability, something few actors manage to do so brilliantly. This film surely demonstrates that Hoffman still had a lot more to offer and it’s truly a shame that we have lost such a great actor.

The only downside that A Most Wanted Man has are the accents. Both Hoffman and McAdams put on a German accent, which takes a few minutes to adapt too. Luckily for us, the actors do such a great job that this little downside becomes unnoticeable after a short while.


A Most Wanted Man offers us a realistic insights in the world of intelligence officers. The film is framed beautifully and takes care in setting up its plot and characters. While the lack of action and speed might trouble some people, the film takes its time to become a wonderful tale. Combine this with excellent acting and an interesting plot, A Most Wanted Man is definitely a film you want to check out.

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