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July 15, 2015

Film Review—A Most Wanted Man

A John Le Carre adaptation starring, in his final role, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Günther Bachmann (Hoffman) leads a special espionage unit in Hamburg that gathers intelligence from the local Islamic community. He has been monitoring Dr. Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), a prominent figure in the community who works with many charities, suspecting him of financing extremist activities. His attentions are also on Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) a refugee who may be a potential terrorist. Through a web worthy of Le Carre’s status, Bachmann attempts to entangle Abdullah and Karpov. But as the flies are lured into the web Bachmann discovers that he too is in another’s web.

Hoffman is superb as the damaged, drained Bachmann. Dishevelled and weighed down, he sees the importance of what he is doing, but is too battered to uphold any romanticism. His approach is based on compassion and a weariness of perpetuity, which he suspects of the hard and short sighted tactics of his American counterparts and some German colleagues. His pessimism is from a true, deep seated longing to “make the world a safer place” only to be confronted with his and others' insufficiencies.

Not just for Hoffman fans, A Most Wanted Man is an unintentional yet eerily perfect swansong of a supreme actor.


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