So once again one of John Le Carre’s spy novels has been adapted for the big screen. The only other adaptation I have seen is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I wasn’t a fan. This film like previous ones has an impressive cast which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe, however I was careful not to let this excite me as it has lead to disappointments in the past.
Unfortunately history has repeated itself as I found myself struggling to find things in this film to enjoy. Maybe I just don’t appreciate John Le Carre’s style of storytelling, however I haven’t read any of his novels so I can’t fairly comment on that. It would seem though that the transition from book to film encounters many problems. The biggest issue I had with A Most Wanted Man was just how boring it was. The film could have been a solid half and hour shorter as the majority of this film is just made up of shots of Philip Seymour Hoffman smoking. I was honestly having to take interest in scenes with cars driving to try and maintain my interest. The film focuses in on terrorism, specifically of the Islamic origin. This may have played a part in why I didn’t enjoy the film, I never really find stories that focus in on this that interesting. A good example would be Body of Lies, I just couldn’t get into the story and that was the same for A Most Wanted Man. I certainly don’t think that this film can be classed as a thriller, if anything it should just be placed into a political/spy genre but it certainly isn’t a thriller. There is maybe one scene tops that evokes any kind of ‘edge of your seat’ material and it is a stretch at that.
One thing I was glad of was just how easy the story was to follow, thank goodness as if I hadn’t of been able to follow the story there would have been no hope for my attention. The cast do perform well, however McAdams accent was muddled and needed a little more work to become convincing. Willem Dafoe had great screen presence and his first appearance welcomed a slight uptake in pace however nowhere near as enough was needed to make the film gripping or intense. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a fairly standard character who doesn’t have a lot going on but he does it well as is to be expected. Good performances only get you so far though and unfortunately weren’t enough to save A Most Wanted Man from being painfully slow and ridiculously anti-climatic. There needed to me more at stake for me to get involved in the film, the scale was never large enough. The film could have become more dramatic with the plot it had but a change in focus would have been required showing the consequences that would have resulted if certain events took place.
Overall A Most Wanted Man is uninspiring, I don’t think this story was ever going to make a good film. Not enough happens and this just results in boredom. Thankfully I could understand it but what I was understanding just ended up being pointless, I don’t know how any viewer was meant to get enjoyment out of this movie. However saying that maybe I just don’t connect with the stories of John Le Carre as I would say fans of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will probably enjoy this, as baffling as it is to me!
BIGGEST FLAW – It induced boredom that I haven’t felt in the cinema for some time
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The plot was made clear and was easy to follow
Rating – 4/10