Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Not Much To Hold On To In 'Most Wanted'

This is Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that's about all we know for sure in 'A Most Wanted Man'
This is Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that's about all we know for sure in 'A Most Wanted Man'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

A Most Wanted Man is another one of those gloomy John le Carré spy thrillers in which everybody is venal and ruthless-- maybe in a good cause, but hardly admirable for all of that.

Everybody has secret schemes and counterpurposes till it's difficult to keep track of who is betraying whom, and even if you can tell who you're supposed to sympathize with, it isn't easy to do it.

It appears that Hamburg, Germany intelligence agent Philip Seymour Hoffman is trying to help illegal immigrant Grigoriy Dobrygin, who seems to want to help the anti-jihad people in Hamburg. But Rachel McAdams is definitely helping Dobrygin, and Hoffman and McAdams are only sporadically allies-- at one point Hoffman even kidnaps McAdams and keeps her prisoner till she agrees to do what he wants.

As for Dobrygin, his goal is not at all certain, and he's practically mute (though for understandable reasons), so it's not easy to identify with him. Willem Dafoe may be an honest banker, but his bank has both Mafia and Nazi connections, at least in its past. And I enjoyed the fact that everybody wants to keep clear of the American CIA, mostly represented by Robin Wright.

Everybody spies on everybody else, with great success, so despite the fact that everybody lies whenever convenient, only the movie audience in the theater is left in the dark as to what's going on. I think the incredibly cluttered bulletin board in Hoffman's office is a symbol of the general confusion.

A Most Wanted Man is certainly well acted and may be a good movie of its genre, but I found it too uninvolving to hold my interest.

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