A Most Wanted Man is based on spymaster John le Carre's popular novel.
Set in Germany, Philip Seymour Hoffman is Gunther Bachmann. He heads up an anti-terrorism agency that doesn't officially exist. Bachmann is charged with finding and neutralizing terrorists and doesn't have to obey any rules to get the job done.
He tracks a half-Chechen, half-Russian man who sneaks into Germany to gain access to his late terrorist father's fortune. Bachmann sees him as an opportunity to take down a high-profile university professor suspected of financing terrorist groups.
That's the simplified explanation. It's much more complicated than that.
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A Most Wanted Man may or may not be Hoffman's last movie. No one is saying it is and no one is saying it isn't. Hoffman -- who is one of the best-ever character actors -- adopts a German accent. He doesn't do it very well and slips back and forth between his natural American accent and the German.
It's a forgivable flaw because he's so good in the role.
Hoffman is joined by Robin Wright, who plays an American CIA agent, Willem Dafoe who does the rich lawyer with access to the money and Grigoriy Dobrygin as the young man unfortunate enough to get caught in the middle of Bachmann's plot to take down the professor.
Screenwriter Andrew Bovell and director Anton Corbijn (who did that awful George Clooney movie The American ) have put together a gem that goes right up to the border of masterpiece. However, A Most Wanted Man is character intensive, complicated, slow-moving and really hard to follow. You have to stay focused, or you can get extremely lost.
Trust me, it's worth the hassle.
Director: Anton Corbijn
Stars: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Nina Hoss
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rated R for language, mature themes, violence. It's playing at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.