A Most Wanted Man (2014)
July 27, 2014 11:27 AM - Subscribe

A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror. As the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish his true identity: oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Philip Seymour Hoffman's last starring role. Based on John le Carré's novel.
posted by scody (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thank you for posting this. My gf and I really want to see it but things have been super busy since last Friday. Hoping to see it this weekend and will be checking back here.
posted by mlis at 9:19 PM on July 29, 2014

I saw it a few days ago and have been mulling it over since. It's a great performance by Hoffman, of course, with an extraordinary interior depth. Atmospherically, it feels surprisingly (almost comfortingly?) Cold War-esque, like Hamburg exists in a different era from the rest of post-unification Germany. I thought Rachel McAdams was pretty weak, though -- it felt like 90% of her energy went into her (poor) accent, and the remaining 10% of her performance didn't feel particularly authentic, either. I would have much preferred someone like Franka Potente in the role.

Anyway, I have more to say but will wait till others chime in, because I don't want to inadvertently spoil the plot for mlis.
posted by scody at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2014

I'm right there with you on Rachel McAdams, despite liking her. Her accent was scattershot and I was never convinced that she's a lawyer (at some point I expected the firm she works for to enter into the plot) in part because the costume designer seems to emphasize her youth so heavily that she looks terribly casual even during business meetings. The female characters in general seemed underwritten, and I have some issue with how women are represented in the film, although that plunges into spoiler territory.

While I also enjoyed the film, there are quite a few moments that felt a bit too clever: obvious switches to handheld cameras during emotional scenes; Hoffman punching a man who slaps a woman at the bar immediately prior to the scene in which he throws McAdams into a chair, as if to ensure the audience doesn't mistake Hoffman's character for being misogynistic; Issa Karpov throwing countless paper airplanes that collide with a barrier. It was, all in all, an engrossing use of two hours, but it hasn't left much of an impression on me since.
posted by lunch at 12:52 PM on July 30, 2014

Man, this was SO LE CARRÉ. I've read a bunch of his books so I really should have expected that ending, but it caught me completely by surprise.

I really loved the distinction in mannerisms, speech patterns, etc between the German and American characters, I feel as though that was captured really well.
posted by troika at 12:10 PM on July 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

Thanks, scody, but go ahead and discuss if you like, I will avoid the thread until I have seen it.
posted by mlis at 6:48 PM on July 31, 2014

I finally watched this movie and I am lukewarm on it, to tell the truth. Even Philip Seymour Hoffman seemed flatter than I expected from him. Other people saw subtleties there that I didn't.

Rachel McAdams was definitely portrayed way too young, (and too American, to my eye). What, she had NO experienced superior to ask questions in that whole organization? If I'd been her, I'd've been asking advice right and left.

The German accents were distracting- why do people speaking to each other in the same language have an accent? I guess it was just to emphasize the difference from the American?

I loved the American- a little flashy and smiled at all the wrong times, as Americans are famous for doing. And, you know, fucking Hoffman's character over. Again.

Anyway, this thread's dead but when I went to post another, Fanfare said it was a repeat.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:23 PM on September 15, 2014

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