Take a Drink: anytime Hoffman drinks
Take a Drink: each time Hoffman makes a questionable promise
Drink a Shot: whenever someone looks at a CCTV monitor
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a special agent for an anti-terrorism task force based out of Hamburg, Germany. Günther’s recent area of inquiry has led him to a major figure in the city’s Islamic community, Dr. Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), convinced that he may be supportive of an Al Qaeda front organization. Meanwhile an illegal immigrant from Chechnya, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), has arrived in town. Karpov has recently inherited a large fortune upon his father’s death, which is held by a Hamburg banker (Willem Dafoe). Günther finds out about the inheritance and develops a plan to use the unwitting Karpov and his money to get to Ershadi. To do this, he tracks down Karpov’s attorney Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) and the banker, and convinces them to join his cause.
The recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman took all the world by surprise. It was a shocking event that deprived the world of one of the most sensitive, subtle and humanistic performers. Thankfully in this, his final lead performance; Hoffman was given the opportunity to go out on a very strong note. As the German agent Günther, Hoffman plays a man who has been jaded many times by his job, most recently having lost face in the eyes of his bosses due to an incident in Beirut which resulted in many deaths. Günther suddenly sees a real chance to develop a long-term contact which, if played right, could bring down a major terror organization.
Günther soon finds that his greatest adversary is his own government, in league with the Americans, who seem to be more interested in arresting suspects.
Adapted from the novel by John Le Carré, a master of espionage literature, A Most Wanted Man is a powerful film that ranks among the best adaptations of his work. Director Anton Corbijn (The American) gives the film a moody, washed-out feel that highlights the unorthodox methods of its principle characters.
Make no mistake, this is not a James Bond / Jason Bourne / Mission Impossible kind of spy flick. The world of Jon Le Carré is one with deeper ties to real life, where the real enemy isn’t so clearly defined. Corbijn’s direction and editing choices are crucial, as Le Carré’s stories are notoriously challenging, with numerous details that can overwhelm a viewer. Thankfully, the result is far more coherent than 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, even with a story that is easily as complex.
Powerful and effective as the movie is, it still requires 100% of the viewer, as even the slightest details missed can and will cause confusion for audiences. Still, this does mean that the film should be rewarding on multiple viewings, and may be given greater weight upon further consideration.
A solid and intelligent spy drama, with a subtle and deeply compelling final lead performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.