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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Summary: When a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant turns up in Hamburg's Islamic community, laying claim to his father's ill-gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man's true identity - oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 24, 2014
    100
    [A] crackerjack thriller, at once brooding, claustrophobic and unbearably tense.
  2. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jul 24, 2014
    88
    The rare film that will remain on your mind long after you’ve left the theater.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 24, 2014
    83
    Corbijn keeps the intrigue uncluttered, guided by Andrew Bovell's economical adapted screenplay.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeff Labrecque
    Jul 16, 2014
    75
    Crackles with a jigsaw-puzzle intelligence and features a superbly subtle lead performance from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who single-handedly gooses the post-9/11 procedural through some of its slower patches.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 24, 2014
    75
    While the tension is sometimes muted, this is more than a procedural round of spy games. The deliberately paced but riveting film is made all the better because of Hoffman's breathtakingly nuanced portrayal.
  6. Reviewed by: Cory Everett
    Jan 22, 2014
    67
    The problem isn’t quite that the film is short on thrills (there is a paucity; the first adrenaline racing sequences don’t arrive until about an hour in), it’s that it’s not quite a character piece either.
  7. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Jul 22, 2014
    40
    Disappointing plod of an espionage thriller.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. Jul 27, 2014
    10
    Hits on all cylinders. Acting, directing, cinematography, writing. Dimensional characters, tautly acted, against a great story. You can tell there was craft in the directing and cinematography, but it doesn't call attention to itself, rather choosing to serve storytelling. Expand
  2. Jul 25, 2014
    9
    The polar opposite of Zero Dark Thirty.

    The picture opens on a title over a wall being washed by the tide. It announces that the planning
    for 9/11 took place in Germany without interference, and this must never be allowed to happen again.

    So much for the stakes and the motivations.

    There follows a film with virtually no action and only as much dialogue as needed to advance the plot. There's a little chit chat, some exposition, and then waiting. Lots and lots of waiting. We wait silently watching the characters wait silently watching other characters make up their minds. There is one sequence which may have been 5 minutes long, with 4 of them silent. There is a sense of things happening in real time.

    However, the longer we wait the more we learn, and the more we learn the more we care.

    Hoffman's character is the polar opposite of the bombastic CIA agent he played in Charlie Wilson's War. Don't come expecting that, or the ripe bluster of The Master. Everyone speaks quietly in Hamburg where the film is set, and Hoffman perhaps the most quietly, muttering in a strange Germanic accent, but also very invested, and more and more so as the story winds tighter and tighter.

    We could do worse than have this as the final performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He goes out on a high note, but an understated one as well.
    Expand
  3. Aug 7, 2014
    9
    The work of intelligence case officers is really accurate according to at least 20-30 books I’ve read on it. That alone is worth it, because no other films seem to get that right (John le Carre was in MI6 so maybe that’s why). But also, Philip Seymore Hoffman was amazing. His character was crazy real, and the worst/best thing about it is you kind of felt like it was really him. As one reviewer said “ And the two of them, actor and character, fit so tightly into that abused and collapsing body up on the screen...” which is dead on in my opinion.

    But I don’t know why in the hell they cast Rachel McAdams, she’s so terrible and it took me out of the film at times, not just her "accent" but acting as well, although it is mainly a casting problem I think. They should have cast Jessica Chastain instead like they were considering.
    Expand
  4. Jul 28, 2014
    8
    Hoffman plays the role of spy agent superbly, as he does in all his films. Without him, the movie is OK, but his presence adds a dimension to the film that is consistent with a LeCarre character. He knows exactly how to play the forlorn agent in all its aspects, from ennui to excitement to extreme disappointment. The other actors are just the players in this film. The ending is so unexpected that you have to quickly think about what has happened. Put it all together and it really is a fine spy story. Expand
  5. Aug 14, 2014
    7
    good political spy-terrorist thriller thats not too hard to follow. great performances from hoffman and wright. slow moving film, but intriguing and never boring. Expand
  6. Aug 6, 2014
    7
    Based on a John le Carré espionage novel of the same name, A Most Wanted Man follows a German intelligence officer in Hamburg as he attempts to prevent terrorists from attacking his city. The plot is woven with many unexpected turns and relies on realism to distinguish itself from its counterparts. This focus on realism is a refreshing change from the normal thriller template, but it in turn has its own set of drawbacks.

    The foremost of them being pacing. The film drags on at a brutal pace. Although it attempts to create slow burning tension the result accumulates to a very slow two acts. To further enunciate the pacing problem, A Most Wanted Man never feels like if failure does come much would be lost. Various scenes attempt to create feelings of tension but these are mitigated by lack of a consequence for failure. Simply put, very little seems to be on the line.

    A Most Wanted Man also has a slew of redeeming qualities. Take the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance for example. His chain smoking, German accented portrayal of the fictional Günther Bachmann is both engaging and undeniably cold. His performance exemplifies true emotion and is one of the best in his outstanding career. The direction is also very polished and stylistic; and the score greatly complements the somber tone of the film.

    Although Its focus on realism slows down the pace; this gives it time to propel the emotions of its lead characters. A Most Wanted Man excels through its poor pacing to become a worthy entry in the thriller genre.
    Expand
  7. Jul 25, 2014
    0
    Perhaps I'm a bit harsh with this rating, but it's to warn away folks from seeing this

    On a scale of up to 4 stars, I'd probably give it
    1.5 stars or so due to the good acting and occasionally clever story

    There is virtually no action (except for a foot chase, Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the piano, a document signing, and a fender bender), no character development, very little detail such as to explain the motivations and any backstory for any of the characters.

    I regret seeing this.

    If you liked Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, you probably would like this since both films are completely devoid of substance and excitement (though this movie isn't quite as terrible as Tinker Tailor).

    I don't think I will ever read John le Carré book or see a movie based on one ever again.

    I recommend only those who like John le Carré and also liked Tinker to see this one, otherwise I'd avoid at all costs
    Expand

See all 22 User Reviews

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