Judging by footage like that from the new UK theatrical preview (see above), the forthcoming A Most Wanted Man bears a resemblance to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – another recent adaptation of author John le Carré’s spy drama literature – in terms of its narrative, themes and style. Even grizzled, constantly smoking, German spy chief Günther Bachmann (played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) appears to be a chip off the same block that gave rise to Gary Oldman’s George Smiley in Tinker Tailor. Not that we’re complaining, mind you, since another dive into the chilling pool of le Carré’s realistic spy games, sounds like an enticing proposition.
The trouble in A Most Wanted Man begins when Issa Karpov (Grioriy Dobrygin) – a half-Chechen, half Russian Muslim immigrant – inexplicably shows up half-dead in Hamburg, laying claim to his father’s vast, but ill-earned, fortune – something that quickly attracts the interest of both U.S. and German national security agencies. Question is, what does he intend to do with said wealth – and is Karpov just the tip of the iceberg, a minor player who has important ties to more dangerous extremists and terrorist forces?
So far, the marketing for the film has done a solid job of shining the spotlight on Hoffman’s performance as the sharp-witted, but world-weary Bachmann, while also calling attention to the sharp cinematography by Benoît Delhomme (Lawless). So far, A Most Wanted Man seems just as refined in its visual layout and design as director Anton Corbijn’s sophomore effort with The American; on the other hand, the adapted screenplay by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) appears far more dialogue-heavy and detail oriented than the comparative minimalism of American‘s script. Such is the nature of the beast that is a le Carré spy story.
Indeed, although A Most Wanted Man has gone over well with critics on the whole thus far, the early reviews emphasize that this espionage thriller (like Tinker Tailor) is very much of the slow-burn, patience-demanding variety. THR notes that Corbijn’s film offers “skilled, low-key style of acting” in place of more flashy entertainment, while Variety notes that “this decidedly low-pulse endeavor” is not for those who weren’t so keen on previous screen adaptations of le Carré’s written word. However, for those who enjoy spy dramas of the quieter, more observant kind, this one sounds like it’ll be worth your time.
The cast of A Most Wanted Man includes Rachel McAdams (About Time), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Daniel Brühl (Rush) and Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel).
A Most Wanted Man opens in U.S. theaters on July 25th, 2014. The film arrives in the UK later this year, on September 5th.
Source: eOne UK