Hoffman plays Günther Bachmann the head of a German security agency tasked with stopping domestic terrorism. When a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant (brutally tortured by the Russians) shows up illegally in Hamburg, looking to acquire funds left to him by his Russian father, Bachmann (and other security agencies) take notice. It becomes a race against time to figure out if he is a victim or a terrorist bent on revenge.
Bachmann wants to turn the immigrant into an asset, hoping that he will lead them to the real men in power. But the other agencies, including the CIA, want to capture and punish him. It becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with each agency jockeying for dominance. Although all the agencies ostensibly want the same thing, they all have different methods for realizing their goals.
Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe round out the cast as a sympathetic lawyer, a CIA analyst, and a German banker respectively.
A thought-provoking and cerebral film, based on a novel by John le Carré, A Most Wanted Man illustrates post 9/11 spy craft and how various security agencies use different methods to achieve their goals. Often times, these agencies are at odds with each other how to achieve these goals.
The film is about 2 hours long, but it never feels overlong, or boring. The directer did an excellent job pacing the film to keep the viewer’s interest.
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Worth a look if you like cerebral films or realistic depictions of spies and espionage in the post-9/11 age.
Skip it if 007 is more your thing.