Most Wanted Man, A

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl. Suspense thriller. Directed by Anton Corbijn.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Taken from a John Le Carré novel, this spy thriller concerns a Chechen Muslim who has illegally immigrated to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror. While there, he attempts to lay claim to his father's ill gotten fortune. At this point, both German and US security agencies race to expose this man’s true nature. Is he merely an oppressed victim or is he a terrorist.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Another downer of a movie from 2014, A Most Wanted Man details the dark underbelly of the world of espionage as only a smug and pretentious Hollywood can. Here the filmmakers spotlight all countries for their deleterious tactics and nefarious behavior. But guess which nation turns out to be the worst offender? That’s right, America. Bad old America.

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays his last full role as a melancholy, alcoholic German Intelligence agent. One can’t help but wonder if the excessive and draconian figure we see on screen represents the soul of the actor playing the part. Hoffman’s intensity and accusing activism may generate attention from award committees. But once again, I found his mocking and arrogant screen persona just another in a long line of unhappy and unfulfilled characterizations more representative of his own lifestyle than anything fresh in the way of creativity.

Finding little to differentiate itself from other cold war, and now post-cold war adventures (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and The Whistle Blower), A Most Wanted Man is Hollywood again revealing a dirty business for its own profit. Perhaps I’m being too harsh, as the movie’s subject is certainly timely, but its non-daring ending is just one more example from an industry that generally sees America as a problem in the world, not the solution. So, while I was involved in the story, I wasn’t surprised by its accusation.

This is not to say that any ingredient in the production is not of the highest quality. Like a fine wine, the technical and artistic elements are all well blended and brought to a satisfying brew. The film holds our attention and reminds us that there are those who govern our lives, most often without our input. My problem with such films that focus on America’s faults and foibles is that these pictures fail to represent, or even give a glimpse into what has made this nation a stand out.

DVD Alternative: The Ipcress File. Michael Caine. Although it suggests some sexual activity, it doesn't bombard your senses with a lot of rough language or sexuality like much of today's cinema, but rather focuses on a great espionage caper.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: I caught 12 uses of the f-word and a few minor expletives.

Profanity: Two misuses of Christ’s name.

Violence: We see torture wounds on a man’s body; a few tense action sequences.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking and smoking, especially by the main character.

Other: None

Running Time: 122 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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