|Hoffman delivers one of his greatest performances.|
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Produced by Stephen Cornwell, Gail Egan, Malte Grunert, Andrea Calderwood and Simon CornwellWritten by Andrew Bovell (novel by John le Carré)
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Homayoun Ershadi, Nina Hoss and Daniel Brühl
Corbijn's new spy thriller adapts John le Carré's novel, which focuses on the war on terror in Hamburg, Germany. When an illegal Chechen Muslim immigrant (Dobrygin) seeks to claim the inheritance from his deceased Russian father, it catches the attention of German and U.S. authorities. Günther Bachmann (Hoffman), head of a German spy organization, wants to find out what the man is up to, and he recruits a young lawyer (McAdams) and a wealthy banker (Dafoe) to help him keep an eye on the man's actions. Meanwhile, Bachmann must also deal with a U.S. security team, whose spokesperson (Wright) could make this delicate situation even more difficult to handle.
While the cast and Corbijn are worthy of praise, Philip Seymour Hoffman is main reason to see this film. Hoffman is in top form, giving a simmering performance of restrained character study. Not only is it a flawless piece of work by the late Oscar-winner, but it's also the best performance I've seen so far this year. That is the highest praise I can give, yet the film does not fall short of its own brilliance. The narrative unfolds at such a deliberate pace that I never once guessed where it was going or where it would end. It kept me guessing, and the slow-burn atmosphere appropriately recalls that of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (also written by le Carré). The bleak lensing by Benoît Delhomme and the ominous score by Herbert Grönemeyer are also noteworthy, but it's Hoffman's fascinating performance that is the standout in one of the best films of the year.
Oscar Potential: Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay