“A Most Wanted Man” Reviews Round-Up

A Most Wanted Man” officially got certified fresh on RottenTomatoes.com yesterday and currently holds a 91% rating with 95 reviews. We will round-up the reviews in this post.

“One of the pleasant surprises is the beautiful and talented Rachel McAdams, which immediately makes you think, “where has she been?” While she has been making her rounds in independent films like Passion, About Time, and To the Wonder, her role as “Annabel” shows a deeper talent that is aching to be realized by the right director. Internalizing emotions and releasing only when called upon, McAdams turns in her one of her strongest turns yet. Not your A-typical “damsel in distress” or “unbelievable tough chick,” McAdams reinvents a character that could have just laid on the screen with no emotion. She relaxes herself into the role, working well off some of the screen’s most gifted performers. It’s a magnificent work.”
Clayton Davis, Award Circuit

“Not only is Hoffman at the top of his form here, the rest of the cast, including Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, German stars Nina Hoss and Daniel Brühl and Russian Grigoriy Dobrygin, have committed themselves fully as well […] That would be the young, beautiful, idealistic Annabel Richter (a completely convincing McAdams), who works for a human rights organization called Sanctuary North.”
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Corbijn (Control) paints with a muted palette of gray-blues that accentuates ambiguity bordering on futility. The storytelling indulges in few of the narrative calisthenics that showier espionage thrillers find necessary to keep their edge. A Most Wanted Man understands that intrigue needn’t preclude clarity, even when loyalties take on the necessary question marks.”
Chris Vognar, Dallas News

“The performances are terrific — Willem Dafoe plays a banker connected to Karpov because of their fathers’ business arrangements, and I would have liked to have seen more of Daniel Brühl as one of Bachmann’s lieutenants — and the script keeps the story moving along while giving us little moments of character insight. (Both converted Muslim Karpov and slumming rich-girl Annabel share an impulse to make life choices that rebel against their bad daddies.)”
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“Gunther begins by speaking German but quickly switches to accented English, an old Hollywood trick that works here because Hoffman and the movie’s other native Anglophones — notably Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe — don’t overplay the Teutonic inflections. Their tones never clash with those of Nina Hoss and Daniel Bruhl, actual German stars in supporting roles […] A Most Wanted Man retains a cogent narrative and le Carre’s weary outlook. Rather than choke the narrative with details, the filmmakers keep the story lean while adding evocative visual and aural details.”
Mark Jenkins, NPR

3/4 stars
“A Most Wanted Man is not a guns-and-motorcycles spy story but a shadowy walk down a dark alley.”
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

3/4 stars
“A Most Wanted Man excels at bringing us into the back rooms where dirty deeds are both tracked and executed, all in the name of “making the world a safer place,” as characters ruefully remark more than once […] The film doesn’t always make the best use of its impressive cast. It’s great that there are three strong female roles, but they’re all playing second fiddle to men.”
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

3,5/4 stars
“Based on a novel by John le Carré, “A Most Wanted Man” is a spy thriller in the classic style. Working from a screenplay by Andrew Bovell, director Anton Corbijn (“The American”) delivers a film that’s as atmospheric as it is provocative. Corbijn dares to explore the moral ambiguities that complicate the war on terror and to question whether the CIA is more of a hindrance than a help.”
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“With a strong story as his foundation, Mr. Corbijn is able to cut loose visually, and he floods the screen in “A Most Wanted Man” with washes of burning color, including an acid yellow and cold blue — tints suggestive of sickness and death — that transcend the usual action-film cliché because of their beauty, intensity and emotional reverberations. Here, characters talk the procedural and expository talk, but their interiority is often expressed by their surroundings, like the lushly green park that nearly enfolds Issa’s young lawyer, Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams); the glass house occupied by Tommy Brue (a very good Willem Dafoe), a banker and one of the tale’s walking wounded; and the derelict, trash-strewn street where Issa finds refuge with a Muslim family.”
Manohla Dargis, New York Times

3,5/4 stars
“The last full-scale Hoffman performance – and it’s a master class in acting – comes in A Most Wanted Man, Anton Corbijn’s tense, twisty and terrific spy thriller, based on John le Carré’s 2008 novel.”
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

3 stars
“Corbijn made “Control” (compellingly bleak, meticulously composed) and then “The American” (also meticulous but pretty insufferable). The atmosphere of the latter is gone in “A Most Wanted Man.” Like any le Carre project, this one requires some rhythmic readjustment in a viewer, some patience. The events are complicated, though not complicated by cheap thrills or easy politics. It’s a film of interest rather than throttling suspense. By the end, however, when Bachmann’s future depends on a very simple nonviolent series of events, Corbijn’s methodical approach pays off. And we care. We care about the protagonist’s outcome.”
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“The rest of Corbijn’s cast and crew make significant contributions to the film’s success as well. McAdams, Dafoe and Wright stand out among the supporting cast, but one shouldn’t overlook the stellar work done by Dobrygin, Hoss, Ershadi Dehbi and Bruhl, as well as incisive brief turns by others. Benoit Delhomme’s cinematography takes advantage of the Hamburg locations to evoke a suitably bleak ambience, though the habit of resorting to shaky, hand-held technique for action moments (like a chase scene) is intrusive; and Herbert Groenemeyer’s score adds subtly to the tone of near-despair.”
Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion

1 Comment on ““A Most Wanted Man” Reviews Round-Up”

  1. I am very happy with the positive critical and responsive, with an optimal percentage. Happier still by all our praise always compelling and incredibly talented Rachel! Much anxiety with this film …

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