A chilly thriller for today's so-called post-9/11 'Climate of Fear', Corbijn commendably keeps the tension bubbling along through the use of sharp, probing dialogue and a penchant for political collusion instead of car chases and gunfire. Capturing the essence of le Carré's meandering source text, Corbijn's motley collection of complex anti-heroes feel totally convincing, even if their ultimate mission comes across as a touch far-fetched. A Most Wanted Man is, predictably, largely overshadowed by the haunting presence of Hoffman, and whilst the curiously non-descript pan-European accents used by himself and the rest of the film's American cast prove relatively distracting, the towering actor's whisky-drinking, chain-smoking portrayal of the duplicitous Günther undoubtedly dominates proceedings.
Whilst Hoffman shines in a world of muted greys, it's the notable efforts of his supporting cast which arguably allow him to sparkle. McAdams puts in one of her strongest performances to date, adding a genuine sense of pathos to an incredibly thinly-drawn character. Elsewhere - and somewhat disappointingly - despite being two of Germany's most recognised working actors, both Brühl and Hoss are underused in a film where the majority of the cast is attempting to mimic the nuances of their enunciation. An otherwise intelligent piece that favours deftness of touch over bombastic thrills, A Most Wanted Man is an efficient espionage drama that, whilst in no way revelatory, is attuned to its source material's non-heroic and morally ambiguous approach to a well-worn genre.
This review of A Most Wanted Man was originally published on 23 June as part of our Edinburgh Film Festival coverage.