Director Christian Petzold’s shattering portrait of a woman adrift in post-WWII Berlin forgoes wishful sentimentality in favor of painful re-discovery. The result is a quietly-devastating film that will haunt you for weeks to come.
In Anton Corbijn’s foreign espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman lends his take on an unconventional looking German intelligence agent, one without the usual dashing attributes associated with cinematic spies. Although sprinkled with cerebral-minded intrigue and conducting its atmospheric tension in methodical fashion, A Most Wanted Man feels relentlessly sluggish in its execution to live up to its labored political-coated drama. This low-energy, plodding spy showcase has its isolated highlights in sleek suspense, but fails to drive home any genuine revelations about its touchy subject matter regarding counter-intelligence suspicion and terrorist paranoia. Despite solid and committed performances, it’s a slow burn of a thriller that simply lingers without fortifying any convincing punch.
Throughout the beginning of Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, it is hard to ignore that there are only a handful of upcoming performances left from Philip Seymour Hoffman in this world. The actor’s untimely death earlier this year left a hole in the world of cinema, one that will not be filled anytime soon. Hoffman was a character actor who managed to become an A-lister, without ever losing his chameleon-like ability to channel whatever or whomever he wanted.