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Most Wanted Man, A


Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Nina Hoss, Rainer Bock, Herbert Gr├Ânemeyer, Jessica Joff├ę, Ursina Lardi, Daniel Br├╝hl

Director: Anton Corbijn

This is archetypal John le Carr├ę territory: a dour, downbeat spy drama with a dispiriting ending that will leave you feeling deflated. Yet, despite being too drawn-out towards the end, it remains highly watchable throughout.

Vaguely Quiller Memorandum-style music introduces us to the plot: the central character is German spy chief G├╝nther Bachmann (Hoffman in his final screen role): he and his team are currently homing in on Chechen refugee Issa (Dobrygin), who has arrived illegally in Hamburg for unknown purposes.

The Americans, led by Martha (Wright), an old adversary of G├╝nther's, are also interested, while G├╝nther finds himself given 72 hours by his own authorities to bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion.

The scenario is nothing if not topical: references to Islamic Jihadists are rife, to which end the chief suspect is a supposedly philanthropic Muslim doctor, whose son happens to be one of G├╝nther's key informants.

Caught in the middle is a bleeding-heart lawyer (McAdams), who discovers from a top banker (Dafoe) that Issa has been left a small fortune by the father he hated.

The obvious ending to all this is too neat for a le Carr├ę story, and so it proves, although the one we're given is scarcely credible. Solid performances all round are just what director Corbijn, who made Control and The American, ordered, with Hoffman thankfully at his world-weary best in his last movie.

(There is no copyright date on this film)

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Technicolor.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Sep 2014