A Most Wanted Man (2014) Dir. Anton Corbijn – QFT Belfast 26th Sep – 9th Oct
Who’s in it? Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Bruhl
What’s it about?Based on the best selling high brow spy novel by genre master John Le Carre – the mind behind critically acclaimed Oscar contender Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – A Most Wanted Man is a similarly pitched and intensely delivered political thriller about the terror of fear and the fear of terror, as the US and its allies fumble in the dark with lingering extremist threats from within and without. The film plays on the paranoia prevalent in the West post 9/11 and feels uncomfortably current given the growing threat of Islamic extremism. When a Chechen Muslim turns up in Hamburg as an illegal immigrant, brutally tortured yet determined to claim his dubiously acquired inheritance, both the US and German governments are determined to muscle in as they attempt to anticipate the unknown intentions of an uninvited guest caught in the sights of the War on Terror. As the identity of this Muslim on a mission remains frustratingly obscure, the race is on to decide whether he’s a victim of government sanctioned injustice or an extremist.
Memorable Moments? The film features a typically incendiary performance from the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman. His gruff, chain smoking secret service agent, in one scene, abducts a Lawyer (McAdams) he feels may be on the side of suspected terrorists, “It takes a minnow to catch a barracuda, a barracuda to catch a shark”.
Look Who’s Talking: ‘Smart, subtle, and steadily absorbing, A Most Wanted Man proves once again that John le Carre books make for sharp, thoughtful thrillers.’ – Rotten Tomatoes
Like that? Try this: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), another intricate Le Carre espionage thriller, if a bit light on thrills, overly dry and occasionally dull, but a masterclass in slow burning suspense.
Trivia Pursuit: This was Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last finished film since his death earlier this year.