A Most Wanted Man: Film Review

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This is tense political thriller that has brilliant performances but does not quite deliver. I was hoping for something to the same standard as Argo and it just did not reach it.

Hoffman is Gunther, the head of an anti-terrorism unit based in Hamburg, Germany who becomes aware of Issa Karpov, a Chechen Islamist who has come into a lot of money. Is he seeking refuge from his torturous past or is he working for a terror organisation?

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This is a very slow-burning thriller and things move along at a glacial pace until nearer the end- when it revs up and then ends without warning. I wanted to care more for each of the characters but you did not know who was good or bad. It is only at the end when their plan starts to fall in place that you realise how invested you’ve become without realising it. You want the plan to work and all of Gunther’s hard work to pay off. That is why the ending is so annoying. You have become invested and you want to see how things turn out, if matters are resolved but you are left with none of these questions answered.

There are a lot of people in this and it is pretty hard to keep track of who is who. Hoffman does a brilliant German accent and does a great job being the stressed boss but his character has no real depth. Besides the slowly revealed details of a once-failed mission in Beirut, we know nothing else about him. Similarly with other key figures played by Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe. The brilliant Daniel Bruhl, who shone in Rush, is given nothing to do. I’m amazed he took the job – he is capable of way more.

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The plot and dialogue were intriguing but quite difficult to understand at times. I kept waiting for the thriller to become tense and gripping but it never quite came. Argo was brilliant for that and I was hoping this would be similar. It is not. The only time it gets intense is about 10-15 minutes before the end when the plan is going into motion and then the film just ends. So you are hyped up, not sure what is going to happen and then you are let down and you still don’t know what is going to happen.

So, this is one of those cases where the ending kills the whole thing. I was interested throughout despite the slow pace but I kept waiting for something huge and game-changing to happen and it never came, until right at the end, and then the impact of it fails to hit home because the film just ends. The performances were great, the bleak setting was interesting and the whole mission was intriguing to me but I wanted more thrills, I wanted to care more and I wanted a proper resolution.

Released: 12th September

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