Often great acting performances are great at the detriment of the film they’re in. Not so with ‘A Most Wanted Man’, which features a devastating lead performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing the seedy, slightly down-at -heel intelligence officer Gunther.
The storyline is simple: Issa Karpov, a Muslim suspected of terrorist activity in Chechnya arrives in the port city of Hamburg and asks for the help of a mysterious banker friend of his late father called Tommy Brue.
The police and spy service are quickly on to him. But is this man here to commit a terrorist act or merely to start a new life? Opinions vary and this is the essence of the drama of the story.
Naturally as a spy film, the theme of trust plays a prominent part in developing the action but perhaps more interestingly so does the idea of the failing father.
Bad dads litter the storyline, whether it’s the money laundering father of Tommy Brue or the Muslim massacring army dad of Issa Karpov, and they help propel the action as each man is pushed to right the wrongs of his papa.
We also see the idea embodied in Gunther himself who has failed as a father to the men who worked for him in the Lebanon and died at the hands of terrorists.
IN the end we see the impossibility of trying to act fairly and truthfully in a world that does not really value either quality.