Amateur adventurer, food lover and freelance writer. Peace.
Published July 22nd 2014
Who can you really trust?
Released in 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival, A Most Wanted Man is a film adaptation of John Le Carré's novel of the same name. The clever and gritty spy thriller is directed by Anton Corbijn and written by WA born Andrew Bovell.
The film begins with a grim introduction to the port city of Hamburg in Germany, where there has been high intelligence presence since the September 11 terrorist attacks, because it was from here that Mohammed Atta and his co-conspirators formulated their plans.
Enter Issa Karpov, a very suspicious looking Muslim Chechen-Russian apparent refugee who immediately becomes the target of an underground anti-terrorism unit because of his status amongst German authorities as an escaped militant jihadist. We also meet the overweight, under-dressed, chain-smoking protagonist and lead of the anti-terrorism unit, Günter Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his hard-as-nails team who are clearly on top of the whole business.
Bachmann is simultaneously working on a case involving Dr Abdullah Faisal, a respected Muslim professor and religious philanthropist whom Bachmann suspects of secretly providing funds for terrorist activity through his various charitable undertakings.
Issa Karpov soon makes the acquaintance of human rights lawyer, Isabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) who helps him in his quest to claim a large ill-gotten inheritance from a German bank with a murky reputation. Bank manager Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe) and Richter soon become targets of Bachmann's team in order to get to the bottom of Karpov's intentions and to trap Dr Abdullah Faisal, all while fighting against beaurocratic intelligence bosses who are threatening to take the suspects out before Bachmann can crack the case.
The movie is a guessing game of 'Who Can You Trust?' and good cop, bad cop all the way through, and although long, the audience is never allowed to disengage. Solid acting, good writing, dry wit thrown in just when it's needed, and the maintenance of an appropriate amount of tension will keep you in suspense right up until the final scene.
Given my general avoidance of this genre of film, I wasn't expecting to like A Most Wanted Man as much as I did. If the stellar cast itself doesn't attract you, rest assured that the plot and writing will make for