14th Jan2015

‘A Most Wanted Man’ DVD Review

by Nicky Johnson

Stars: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, Nina Hoss, Homayoun Ershadi, Vicky Krieps, Mehdi Dehbi, Kostja Ullmann, Martin Wuttke, Rainer Bock | Written by Andrew Bovell | Directed by Anton Corbijn

AMWM-cast

Gunther Bachman (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is a German espionage agent stationed in Hamburg to head up a covert anti-terrorist unit tasked infiltrating and gaining intelligence from the local Muslim community. In particular, Bachmann is interested in Dr Abdullah, a local philanthropist who has some shady financial practices. He also learns of Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a half-Chechen half-Russian illegal immigrant that was found by Russian intelligence to be linked to terrorism after extensive ‘interrogation’. As he learns more about Karpov’s reasons for being in Hamburg, Bachmann sees an opportunity to finally nail his target.

I’ve got to say, A Most Wanted Man made time pass at double speed. The combination of a gripping and depressingly plausible storyline with the gloomy and gritty surroundings of Hamburg and Bachmann’s interrogation cell and the solid acting made for an intense viewing experience. Seymour Hoffman in particular was perfect as the moody German spy with an obsession that bordered on dangerous. The way he interacted with the other characters and his general accent and mannerisms seemed natural; to be frank, this is one of those characters that seem purposefully designed for one actor.

But A Most Wanted Man isn’t just about Seymour Hoffman; this casting choices made were pretty much perfect. Dobrygin didn’t particularly get many lines but his character was such that he didn’t really need any to portray a terrified immigrant deeply ashamed of his history and wanting to make something of his life and escape his past. Rachel McAdams as the immigration lawyer Annabelle Richter was excellent at portraying someone who had a very clear idea of what was right to do only to be caught up in something that puts it all into question.

Ultimately, there’s very little to dislike in this film, and even with the absolute minimum amount of action it still grips you to the edge of your seat. Two hours went by like seconds, and even my girlfriend who is the type of person to talk throughout a film sat in silence watching it with me. There are so many reasons to buy A Most Wanted Man, whether it’s because you’re a fan of the genre, or of Hoffman (it’s worth noting this is last film where he played the leading role before his unfortunate death), but the main reason to buy it is very, very simple. Buy this because it is a very, very good film, and you will get your money’s worth and more.

***** 5/5

A Most Wanted Man is released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 19th, courtesy of eOne.

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