Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic 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: Richard Roeper
    Jul 24, 2014
    100
    A Most Wanted Man works as a crowd-pleaser and as a believable reflection of how these fictional events might well play out in the real world.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 24, 2014
    100
    Although the cast is uniformly fine, Hoffman shines in a role that demands not showmanship, but a kind of complexity and contradiction that can be rendered only through the kind of dull character details that he excelled in, accumulating them from the inside out.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jul 22, 2014
    90
    A Most Wanted Man is simply a complex tale superbly told, with time for nuance and to soak in its mysteries.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 25, 2014
    88
    A Most Wanted Man's cast - a mix of Germans speaking English, Americans speaking English with German accents, Russians, and men and women from the Middle East - is uniformly stellar.
  6. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jul 24, 2014
    88
    The rare film that will remain on your mind long after you’ve left the theater.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 24, 2014
    88
    The great pleasure of le Carré-land — for some, it’s the frustration — is that one’s own moral certainties are quickly stood on their head.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 24, 2014
    88
    Every move Hoffman makes subtly rivets attention. There's the uncanny German accent, the boozing, the chain-smoking, the glances at his assistant (Nina Hoss), the secret life he keeps hidden and the betrayals even Günther can't see coming. Hoffman is simply magnificent. Face it. We won't see his like again.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jul 23, 2014
    88
    Hoffman is merely the first among equals in a stellar cast.
  10. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jul 25, 2014
    83
    As usual in Le Carre's world (and the real one), a measured, rational approach faces an uphill battle against the philistines who really run the show. That predictably weary attitude is both the best — as embodied in Hoffman's performance — and worst — in its weary predictability — things about A Most Wanted Man.
  11. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 24, 2014
    83
    Corbijn keeps the intrigue uncluttered, guided by Andrew Bovell's economical adapted screenplay.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 23, 2014
    83
    A Most Wanted Man allows Hoffman to go out with not only one of his best performances, but one that epitomizes his strengths.
  13. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Jan 20, 2014
    83
    While the final act might not surprise or stun, it does feature some classic le Carre movements, some trademark Corbijn ease, and a terrifying Hoffman bellowing at the sky – not so bad for just another spy film.
  14. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 24, 2014
    80
    Still, it's le Carre's material; it was shot in dark, lurid, vital Hamburg; Hoffman is the star; and I was completely held. [28 July 2014, p.79]
  15. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    Jul 24, 2014
    80
    Hoffman doesn't get a lot of flashy, awards-show-clip moments, but he's all the more engrossing for underplaying and revealing volumes with the slightest of reactions and inflections.
  16. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jul 24, 2014
    80
    Mr. Hoffman’s performance is so finely etched — and the story so irresistible — that the film becomes, almost inescapably, something of a last testament.
  17. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jan 22, 2014
    80
    Corbijn succeeds here in large part because his attention to nuance and detail so fully complements that of the German operatives at the story’s core.
  18. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jul 23, 2014
    78
    Forget divining who’s predator and who’s prey. Everybody’s chum here.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 25, 2014
    75
    Hoffman, bloated and flushed, does not look well in this film. But he is such a consummate actor that whatever infirmities he may have been fighting become a part of his performance. His portrayal, complete with a convincing German accent, is a fully rounded portrait of courage and dissolution.
  20. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Jul 24, 2014
    75
    Like a book we want to keep reading, despite the compression of pages telling us the end is near, it’s hard not to want A Most Wanted Man to go on forever, if only to spend time in the company of Hoffman – one of the great actors of his, or any, generation.
  21. 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.
  22. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 24, 2014
    75
    Like most of le Carré’s novel, A Most Wanted Man has a veracity most spy thrillers lack, and the suspense is of the intellectual, not visceral, kind.
  23. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 24, 2014
    75
    The events are complicated, though not complicated by cheap thrills or easy politics. It's a film of interest rather than throttling suspense. By the end, however, when Bachmann's future depends on a very simple nonviolent series of events, Corbijn's methodical approach pays off. And we care. We care about the protagonist's outcome.
  24. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 23, 2014
    75
    What resonates, in this smart but minor procedural, isn’t the harsh vision of a post-9/11 world, but the unglamorous depiction of governmental grunt work.
  25. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Jul 21, 2014
    75
    Anton Corbijn constructs a stifling world of shadowy surveillance and intersecting national interests, building on John Le Carré's sense of moral and emotional exhaustion.
  26. 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.
  27. 70
    What’s on display here is a great actor at his absolute peak — damn it all.
  28. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 24, 2014
    70
    Hoffman was a genius, a tremendously gifted actor who could shine in almost any role... A Most Wanted Man may not be the best example of this, but it certainly adds to the evidence.
  29. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jul 22, 2014
    70
    A Most Wanted Man is a cold film that examines its characters from a clinical distance, but its iciness gives way to raw emotion in a powerful final sequence.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 22, 2014
    70
    The story is a jigsaw puzzle in which all the pieces are of an indistinguishable gray, making fitting them together a tricky matter.
  31. 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.
  32. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jul 25, 2014
    63
    Corbijn keeps the action of A Most Wanted Man at arms length or greater, never finding the heart of the piece despite mostly solid performances and strong production values.
  33. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jul 24, 2014
    60
    Whether you call Anton Corbijn’s adaptation of John le Carré’s 2008 novel “deliberately paced” or “so slow I can feel my hair growing,” there’s no denying the power behind the central performance.
  34. Reviewed by: Patrick Gamble
    Jul 24, 2014
    60
    An otherwise intelligent piece that favours deftness of touch over bombastic thrills, A Most Wanted Man is an efficient espionage drama that, whilst in no way revelatory, is attuned to its source material's non-heroic and morally ambiguous approach to a well-worn genre.
  35. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Jan 22, 2014
    60
    It's a professional old-school espionage outing, intricate as clockwork and acted with relish by the ever-watchable Hoffman. But it remains an oddly anonymous enterprise from this talented and distinctive director.
  36. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 24, 2014
    50
    Now, thanks to A Most Wanted Man, we discover that it's really boring - practically sleep-inducing - to be an international spy.
  37. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 23, 2014
    50
    This atmospheric, cool-looking but gimpy thriller based on a John le Carré novel makes “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” look like “22 Jump Street.”
  38. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 23, 2014
    50
    Dreary, depressing and desultory, A Most Wanted Man is not my cup of Schokolade mit Schlagsahne.
  39. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 24, 2014
    40
    I wish I could say that the film gives a great actor a worthy role, but the truth is otherwise. The character is banal — Günther lavishes attention on remarkably uninteresting spycraft — and Mr. Hoffman, like everyone else, is stuck with the glum tone set by the director, Anton Corbijn ("Control," "The American").
  40. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Jul 22, 2014
    40
    Disappointing plod of an espionage thriller.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 11
  2. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. Jul 29, 2014
    8
    A wonderful, understated movie and a great performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. I wondered why they would have put him in a role where he was supposed to be German but he carried off well.

    Not a Bond movie full of ridiculous stunts and explosions but a Le Carre movie full of what real spy work looks like presumably. If you are hoping for a lot of action and sex, this is not the movie for you.

    A fitting final role for one of the best actors in recent memory.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2014
    5
    The appearance of an immigrant in Hamburg spikes the interest of a secret anti-terrorist group headed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Thus begins a tedious, low-key operation to discover the man's true threat. Based on a novel by John le Carré, this is much more about patient procedure than action or chases. Every scene plays out slowly with no tension and lots of looking. Hoffman creates a mildly compelling character, but the ever-present cig and swig is an unoriginal way to signify a flawed character. There's some interesting intrigue, but the pacing is so slow that it tries your patience. Full Review »
  3. Jul 28, 2014
    8
    A thinking person's movie. Slow and methodical but I'm guessing the way it really happens. No vampires, aliens, giant robots, just great acting and the reality of the war on terror. Sad the see the last of Hoffman. Will miss his brilliance. Full Review »