The Dutch photographer and music video director Anton Corbijn turned heads with his narrative feature debut Control, which chronicled the short, troubled life of Ian Curtis, lead singer of influential post-punk band Joy Division. His follow-up was 2010’s The American, a moody, stylish thriller starring George Clooney as a brooding assassin, which got mixed reviews (read ours here) but established Corbijn as a director with a unique visual aesthetic.
Corbijn will apply his visual approach to Edge of Darkness screenwriter Andrew Bovell’s adaptation of the John le Carré novel A Most Wanted Man. It’s been some time since the announcement that Philip Seymour Hoffman (Catching Fire) would star in the espionage thriller, but after a long period of relative silence on the project, an international trailer has debuted online.
Watch the trailer above (via Collider), and read a synopsis for the film below:
When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, tortured half-to-death immigrant turns up in Hamburg’s Islamic community, laying claim to his father’s ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man’s true identity – oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist?
Hoffman’s German spy chief is joined by a stellar line-up of talent for this film – Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) as the idealistic lawyer who is perhaps too close to the titular wanted man Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin), with a supporting cast including Robin Wright (House of Cards), Willem Dafoe (who, like Hoffman, sports a nice German accent) and Rush‘s Daniel Bruhl.
John le Carré’s spy novels are typically dense and twisty, and have been adapted in recent years as quality films that are funny and lightly nasty (The Tailor of Panama), somber and thought-provoking (The Constant Gardener) and quietly labyrinthine (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). The trailer above looks appropriately bleak, as powerful nations play a game of tug-of-war over someone who may or may not be a potential threat.
Le Carré’s 2008 source novel is said to be inspired the real-life case of Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany who claimed he was detained in Kandahar, Afghanistan by the U.S. military via extraordinary rendition after being arrested in Pakistan. Despite the United States finding the charges groundless, Kurnaz claimed he was tortured for five years in Kandahar and Guantanamo Bay.
With the government under fire following the NSA leaks courtesy of Edward Snowden and others, A Most Wanted Man could be an engaging and timely exploration of a tense international situation. However, if Corbijn retains the somewhat glacial pace of The American, some viewers might tune out and miss the message.
A Most Wanted Man will be released in 2014.