Ben Oliver

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A Most Wanted Man

Have you ever seen blood on the street?
20 January 2015

Anton Corbijn directs this adaptation of John le Carré’s spy thriller. Philip Seymour Hoffman dons a German accent as the head of a counter terrorism unit in Hamburg trying to turn a potential terrorist, whilst also getting pressure from the Americans and other German officials to simply arrest him.

This is Corbijn’s second thriller after The American and I’m becoming quite fond of his work. He has a way of piercing through a complicated script and getting to the point, without losing any of the smart writing and subtle plot developments. This is more ‘espionage’ than ‘spying’, it’s a subtle difference but the former is much easier to cock up than the latter when trying to make entertainment.

A Most Wanted Man is far from a classic. At times it drags and frankly the plot isn’t that exciting. Many of the characters are two dimensional. However, the actors are all talented enough to keep us interested; it’s only after the fact I realise some people seem to serve no other purpose than ‘someone Seymour Hoffman can talk to’.

In the right hands, Le Carré’s work often translates well onto celluloid. Corbijn has proven to be the right man for the job, keeping a firm grip on the pace and emotion in the film; the final 30 minutes in particular are very well put together.

Not overwhelming, but still a fantastic two hours.