My first introduction to the works of author John le Carré was when I saw the 2011 film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” I have since listened to two other le Carré audiobooks and was quite intrigued by the trailer for “A Most Wanted Man,” based on one of his newer novels, which hit theaters in a midlevel release this month. This film is noteworthy for another and much more tragic reason: it is the final completed film of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote,” “Synecdoche, New York”), who died of a drug overdose in February. It was a sad and utterly premature end of what had been a compelling career and life.
As for “A Most Wanted Man,” it is another wonderful espionage film that once again foregoes the usual trappings of such films to present an all too real look at the world of spies and terrorists, where sometimes your friends are a bigger problem than your adversaries.
Featuring a stellar cast led by Hoffman in a transformative role, “A Most Wanted Man” may be a bit slow for some, but it draws us in to both its story and its characters, creating a compelling and engaging story from start to finish.
“A Most Wanted Man” is a different kind of spy film, but with more depth and character development than just about any of the action-filled movies which get wide releases and big box office receipts. For those looking for a compelling and topical story coupled with great performances, this is one to definitely check out before its limited release ends.
The film is rated R for language.
(This is a shortened version of the full review available in our printed or e-edition papers.)