A film adaptation of the John le Carre novel of the same name, this is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final starring role and a poignant reminder of just how immensely talented this man was.
Hoffman plays Gunther Bachmann, the head of a small, secretive German intelligence unit that concentrates on monitoring the Islamic community in the German city of Hamburg. As the opening credits tell us, this is the city where the September 11 attacks were planned and the German’s are determined to never let their guard slip again.
When a Chechen/Russian immigrant Issa Karpov(Dobrygin) illegally enters Germany, he is aided by members of the Islamic community and offered help by a young idealistic lawyer, Annabel Richter (McAdams). Issa is in Germany to seek out banker Tommy Brue (Dafoe) and claim money left to him by his father. Brue is already under heavy surveillance by German intelligence who want to link him to various terrorist organisations.
Issa quickly comes to the attention of Gunther’s team and thus his presence is monitored from the start. When he makes contact with Brue, the Americans also become involved, much to Gunther’s chagrin.
Issa is now an unwitting pawn in the game of international security and intelligence.
This is an old-fashioned spy thriller. It does not rely on a handsome, adrenalin junkie lead with tech gadgets and outlandish resources. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of movie. Because there isn’t. But this isnt that type of movie.
This movie is character and dialogue driven. It is subtle and smart and keep piling on the tension till it is almost unbearable. There is a lot to keep track of and you had better pay attention….. but once the pieces begin to fall into place, it kicks into the next gear and you find yourself caught up in its web of intrigue and double dealings.
Hoffman is simply stunning. His overweight and slightly lumbering Bachmann using his agile and clever mind to put it all together as he moves towards the final goal. Like a chess grandmaster, he carefully maneuvers all into place…
As the movie reached it’s endgame, you could cut the tension in the cinema with a knife. The final scenes will leave you breathless and stunned.
If you like clever, smart character studies, do not miss this movie. I sense an Oscar. Not sure if there is any buzz but Im calling this one now.
Love Flick xx
Director : Anton Corbijn
Starring : Grigoriy Dobrygin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Homayoun Ershadi, Nina Hoss, Daniel Bruhl, Vicky Krieps, Kostja Ullmann, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe
Running Time : 122 minutes
Release Date : 31 July 2014