Thursday, 2 October 2014

Spy Thriller – A Most Wanted Man - Film Review

The Story

A Chechen illegal immigrant gets into Hamburg, believed by the authorities to be a dangerous terrorist. Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a German spymaster, always wants to play the long game, waiting it out in order to breech the hierarchy and seize the terrorist leaders at the top. In this case, the asylum seeker isn’t penniless; he’s been left millions in his father’s legacy and everyone is watching to see what he does with it. The CIA are cagey, but give Bachmann 72 hours to pull off his softly-softly approach.

Image: Demarest Films, Potboiler Productions, The Ink Factory, Film4 Productions
Review: 4 of 5 stars.

I very much enjoyed this film of the book (same title) by John le Carré with its superbly understated performance from Hoffman as Backmann – I couldn’t take my eyes off him! He's shabby, appears constantly hungover, world-weary and lonely, yet he's committed to the cause of rooting out terrorism albeit it with a tendency to put his trust where he shouldn't. The film is saturated with typical John le Carré mood: mysterious phone calls, unexplained action and unspoken scenes couched in uncertainty and jolting twists.

What struck me was how dark and threatening this film was without the usual violent and bloody ‘spy thriller’ scenes. I love the Bourne films, by the way, but here there are no manic car chases, no train derailments, no guns. In fact, there is very little violence at all; no one is shot, strangled or blown up, yet the film is brimming with disquiet and menace nevertheless. It’s the simmering undercurrents, the hidden possibilities, as we watch and wait, that make the viewer squirm. Highly Recommended.
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AJ Waines is the author of Psychological Thrillers:  The Evil Beneath and Girl on a Train.
Both books went to Number One in 'Murder' and 'Psychological Thrillers' in the UK Kindle charts.

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