Dramatically understated but visually striking and intellectually suspenseful, this adaptation by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American) of the John le Carré novel takes a look at the ethical vagaries of thwarting terrorism, and at the frequently melancholy lives of those dedicated to the task. When a severely abused Russian-Chechen immigrant (Grigoriy Dobrygin) surfaces in Hamburg seeking asylum, a variety of competing international intelligence agencies begin to circle, suspecting he’s there to claim his deceased father’s ill-gotten fortune and do mischief. Going against this mindset is a disgraced German spymaster (an intense, nuanced Philip Seymour Hoffman), who thinks the man is innocent and can be better used to bag a wealthy Islamic philanthropist he suspects of financing terrorists. Robin Wright’s the creepy CIA presence, Willem Dafoe is excellent as a shady banker, and a miscast Rachel McAdams is out of her depth as a liberal lawyer. I enjoyed the book. And while it doesn’t rate up there with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the author is never less than compelling. So this may be minor le Carré, but it’s major Hoffman, and well worth seeing as the actor’s last completed role. Japanese title: Dareyorimo Nerawareta Otoko. (121 min)
About Don Morton
Don Morton has viewed some 6,000 movies, frequently awake. A bachelor and avid cyclist, he currently divides his time between Tokyo and a high-tech 4WD super-camper somewhere in North America.