A Most Wanted Man

Movie Review #917


Released in New York City, New York on July 22, 2014. Limited release on July 25, 2014. Nationwide release on August 1, 2014. Thriller. This film is rated R for language. Runs 2 hours, 2 minutes. A British-American co-production, with additional German involvement. Director: Anton Corbijn. Screenplay: Andrew Bovell. Novel: John le Carré. Additional writing: Stephen Cornwell. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Brühl, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Homayoun Ershadi, Mehdi Dehbi, Neil Malik Abdullah, Nina Hoss, and Vicky Krieps.


By Alexander Diminiano

“A Most Wanted Man” is a most uninteresting movie. The structure is pretty simple: talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, sudden action sequence, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. That sudden action sequence serves the same purpose of an alarm that’s coming on again after your fist has just come down on the snooze button. Except we’d actually to have these sorts of scenes appearing more often than just once. Not necessarily action sequences, but anything more enthusiastic than this tritely written dialogue.

It’s not a completely boring movie. Very boring, but it could be worse. All the dialogue (and at times monologue) that caulks the movie together may be monotonously written, but it certainly ain’t delivered that way. This is a tour de force for every cast member. Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final starring role, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl, and Rachel McAdams. This day and age, these names are far from unfamiliar, and if they’ve fallen at all short of their respective best, they haven’t fallen far. Above all those names, though, is the breakthrough performance of Grigoriy Dobrygin, a 28-year-old Russian actor who delivers promisingly in the titular role.

It’s no easy role, either. This is a complex character: an Islamic, half-Chechen, half-Russian who has recently immigrated illegally to Hamburg, Germany, and could be an oppressed victim seeking asylum, or an extremist plotting a terrorist attack. Still, if your definition of “complex” implies “interesting,” this film will encourage you to find a new definition.

“A Most Wanted Man” feels like it went to the editing room for maybe five or six minutes. Director Anton Corbijn practically models the movie after an episode of JAG, except his interpretation isn’t 45 minutes, it’s 2 hours. It certainly doesn’t last that long. “A Most Wanted Man” could have been an engrossing movie. It’s certainly promising. But not only does it fail to fulfill that, it’s also just the opposite of engrossing. It’s utterly boring.


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