Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Most Wanted Man

It's surreal to watch an actor in a film released posthumously. Their presence throughout the film is felt but no longer in real life. It's a very bittersweet feeling.

Without a doubt, this is the case with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man. As pretty much everyone can attest to, Hoffman was one of those actors that always made any film better. But since his passing this February, this sentiment is still very much shared.

A Most Wanted Man is similar to other adaptations of John le Carre's work like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener. It builds with a slow burn, perhaps too slow a burn in some scenes. Not that it's a total flaw, mind you. It gives the film more time to focus on character interactions.

Corbijn (who also directed Control, one of my favorite films) directs the film with a keen eye. With cinematographer Benoit Delhomme, Corbijn makes every shot stand out with a certain color palette within each scene. (No surprise since Corbijn was a photographer before becoming a director.) It's a director's touch not often seen.

A Most Wanted Man is well done but rather bleak. (Perhaps because the shadow of Hoffman's passing looms over it?) Hoffman, as well as Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright, give exceptional performances. Ignoring Mockingjay for a moment, the final shot of A Most Wanted Man could easily be the perfect ending for a career as prominent as Hoffman's.

My Rating: ****

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