Anton Corbijn, the director of Control and The American brings us his most mature piece of work to date, A Most Wanted Man. It is what you would call the definition of a slow burner. It is a film about American justice shown from a foreign perspective.
The film is set in Hamburg Germany post-9/11 and is centered on German spy Gunther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who stops at nothing to bring down a local powerful Muslim figurehead named Dr. Faisal Abdullah, who may or may not be tied to various terrorist organizations. The person that hangs in the balance is the mysterious Issa Karpov, who shows up in Hamburg illegally, claiming to be the son of a former Russian military leader. Issa sets off a domino effect around Germany as he starts to make connections all around town, especially with Abdullah. Bachmann and a slew of other organizations led by other shady characters, most notably CIA operative Martha Sullivan (played by Robin Wright), start to look into Issa and Abdullah's activity/ relationship. The film also stars Rachael McAdams as human rights lawyer Annabel Richter and the always brilliant Willem Dafoe as a banker Tommy Brue.
Philip Seymour Hoffman gives his best performance since The Master with a very calculated, toned-down performance of a German spy who stops at nothing to track down terrorist activity throughout Hamburg. Mark my words: his accent is much more soothing than when he portrayed Truman Capote.
Some things in A Most Wanted Man are left up to the viewer to decide; it is a very European-made film in the sense that nothing is spoon-fed to the audience, and it raises more questions than answers at times. Like a nicely game played of Stratego, fans of understated political thrillers will appreciate the subtle nuances sprinkled throughout the film.
*A Man Most Wanted has been purchased by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions for a 2014 release