A Most Wanted Man (film)
|A Most Wanted Man|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anton Corbijn|
|Screenplay by||Andrew Bovell|
|Based on||A Most Wanted Man|
by John le Carré
|Music by||Herbert Grönemeyer|
|Edited by||Claire Simpson|
|Box office||$36.2 million|
A Most Wanted Man is a 2014 espionage thriller film based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré, directed by Anton Corbijn and written by Andrew Bovell. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss. It premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and competed in the main competition section of the 36th Moscow International Film Festival and the 40th Deauville American Film Festival. It was the last of Hoffman's films to be released before his death.
Günther Bachmann leads a covert German government team that seeks to recruit local informants with ties to Islamic terrorist organizations. The disheveled Günther's polar opposite is his efficient right-hand associate, Erna Frey. The team learns of Karpov's presence and his suspected links to Chechen terrorists.
Bachmann's team is also tracking the activities of a local, respected, Muslim philanthropist, Dr. Abdullah, who the team suspects is funneling a small portion of his legitimate funds to Al Qaeda, though the team is unable to prove this. High-ranking German security official Mohr and American diplomatic attaché Sullivan both learn of these investigations and take an interest.
Bachmann is interested in watching suspects and "turning" informants higher and higher up the chain, while protecting the naïve who are caught up in the nefarious affairs of others. Mohr and Sullivan appear single-minded, and interested in merely capturing suspects, regardless of guilt or future usefulness. Bachmann has been disgraced in the past for an apparently serious failure, and shows signs of self-neglect, but is a sophisticated operative who understands Islamic terrorism, and distrusts politicians and the Americans.
Karpov contacts an immigration lawyer, Annabel Richter, who helps put him in contact with Tommy Brue, a wealthy banker whose father had long ago laundered money for Karpov's father, of the Russian mafia. Karpov is the legal heir to a multimillion-dollar account long held by this bank, but Karpov identifies with his maternal Chechen, Muslim heritage and decides he no longer wants his father's dirty money.
Bachmann's team is able to turn Brue and Richter to their cause, using threats and seduction. Richter convinces Karpov to donate the funds to Abdullah's organization, in the hope that Abdullah will reroute some of the funds to a shipping company acting as a front for al-Qaeda. Bachmann plans to use this proof of guilt to turn Abdullah as well and ensnare those higher up in the terrorist organization. The plan is approved by the interior minister, along with the American who has become an apparent ally of Bachmann. Bachmann secures asylum for the innocent Karpov.
Abdullah does indeed route funds to the shipping company. Bachmann, posing as a taxi driver, picks up Abdullah with the goal of turning him into an informant without disrupting his life or family. As Bachmann drives away, he is ambushed by forces reporting to Mohr and Sullivan, who whisk away Abdullah and Karpov. Bachmann screams as Frey, Richter, and Brue look on in shock. Bachmann drives off, defeated.
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Günther Bachmann
- Rachel McAdams as Annabel Richter
- Willem Dafoe as Tommy Brue
- Robin Wright as Martha Sullivan
- Grigoriy Dobrygin as Issa Karpov
- Derya Alabora as Leyla
- Daniel Brühl as Max
- Nina Hoss as Erna Frey
- Herbert Grönemeyer as Michael Axelrod
- Martin Wuttke as Erhardt
- Kostja Ullmann as Rasheed
- Homayoun Ershadi as Dr. Faisal Abdullah
- Mehdi Dehbi as Jamal Abdullah
- Vicky Krieps as Niki
- Rainer Bock as Dieter Mohr
On 25 July 2014, the film received a limited release in the United States, beginning with 361 theatres and later expanding wider. It earned US$36,233,517 worldwide.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 86% based on 191 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Smart, subtle, and steadily absorbing, A Most Wanted Man proves once again that John le Carré books make for sharp, thoughtful thrillers." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Many critics praised Hoffman's performance, which was his last leading role before his death in February 2014. Richard Roeper called the film one of the best spy thrillers in recent years, and called it the seventh best film of 2014. Critic Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called it a "crackerjack thriller" and praised the performance of the entire cast but Hoffman in particular. He wrote that A Most Wanted Man is "a fitting film for him to leave on, not only because it is so expertly done but because his role was so challenging."
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