Strange time of the year for a real thinking mans movie, but the new A Most Wanted Man is out this week and is quite good. Trouble is, not may will see this because of the season.
This was the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman's final starring role that he finished. And even though he's a multiple Oscar nominee, and an Oscar winner, he has never been better than this. He owns this movie. This is a modern suspenseful drama that deals with the threat of terrorism and the people of The West that are battling it every day.
This takes place in Germany modern day. Hoffman plays the leader of an elite, and off the record anti-terrorism force that not even the highest members of the German government know about. They are based in Hamburg where the attacks on 9-11 were born. Hamburg remains a place where terrorist like to start because of its freedom, its ports, and they use it as a gateway to the west. The task forces job is to stop these guys before they get started.
This movie showcases the never ending difficulty that job entails. The terrorists have vast networks of people around the globe, and have become very sophisticated. They use they existing laws of free countries to their advantage. They also use deception, skulduggery, the banking system, and even the good nature of good, but immensely naive activists in these free countries to attempt to gain the upper hand. Hoffman's force has to find the correct balance of how to handle these terrorists. Arrest or kill them? Or use them to take down the next guy, or guys in line. But who can be trusted?
This movie is an interesting mix of some very fine actors. Willem Dafoe, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and many very good supporting actors. But one thing is for certain. They all are completely paled to Hoffman's amazing performance. I'll say it. In this movie, they all look like rookies next to him. He's that good.
Hoffman's character is a chain smoking, heavy drinking, deeply committed and troubled man, totally devoted to his job. He brings a huge authenticity to this complicated role, and is so immersed in it, you forget it's actually him acting. As many great movies as Hoffman made, this is his single best performance. And sadly it will be his last. Yes, he will have some time in the next Hunger Games, but he did not finish that project before his death. He is sensational here.
This is movie is not for everyone. This is a slow burn movie, with little or no action, special effects or bells and whistles. This is extremely well written, directed and edited. This will more than likely do far better on streaming and DVD in a few months was many people would like to see this, but maybe not the time of year to go to a big drama.
A Most Wanted Man. Hoffman is terrific. Sad he is gone. Well done.