A Most Wanted Man

Critics Consensus

Smart, subtle, and steadily absorbing, A Most Wanted Man proves once again that John le Carre books make for sharp, thoughtful thrillers.



Total Count: 193


Audience Score

User Ratings: 36,055
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Movie Info

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg's Islamic community, laying claim to his father's ill-gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man's true identity - oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? (c) Roadside Attractions


Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Gunter Bachmann
Rachel McAdams
as Annabel Richter
Willem Dafoe
as Tommy Brue
Grigoriy Dobrygin
as Issa Karpov
Robin Wright
as Martha Sullivan
Nina Hoss
as Irna Frey
Daniel Brühl
as Maximilian
Rainer Bock
as Dieter Mohr
Tamer Yigit
as Melik Oktay
Derya Alabora
as Leyla Oktay
Herbert Grönemeyer
as Michael Axelrod
Max Volkert Martens
as Otto Burgdorf
Bernhard Schutz
as Otto Keller
Martin Wuttke
as The Admiral
Neil Malik Abdullah
as Abdullah's Bodyguard
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Critic Reviews for A Most Wanted Man

All Critics (193) | Top Critics (51) | Fresh (167) | Rotten (26)

  • Hoffman's an actor who could do just about anything, but being authentically German is not one of them.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • One of the countless sad things about losing Hoffman is the realization that we'll never get to watch him single-handedly elevate an otherwise OK movie again.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Full Review…

    Dana Stevens

    Top Critic
  • "A Most Wanted Man" allows Hoffman to go out with not only one of his best performances, but one that epitomizes his strengths.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Eric Kohn

    Top Critic
  • This is the sharpest, most reasonable tale of espionage and intrigue since John Boorman's Tailor of Panama.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It is a commanding performance from Hoffman, and an overwhelmingly satisfying note for this actor to end on.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • It was shot in dark, lurid, vital Hamburg; Hoffman is the star; and I was completely held.

    Sep 22, 2014 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Most Wanted Man

  • Aug 15, 2017
    A Most Wanted Man is yet another mature spy thriller based on a John Le Carré novel. I struggled with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but really enjoyed Our Kind Of Traitor. I'm on the fence with this one. There is no denying that this is a well executed spy thriller that oozes maturity. But I found myself disengaged, particularly during the first half. The story is SO heavy and full of dialogue and minor characters that I struggled to keep up with what was happening. It's only in the second half that the plot becomes more focussed. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives an understated performance and is easily the stand out of the film, without a doubt. If he wasn't talking, then he was smoking (seriously his character smoked about 30 cigarettes). Supporting cast were good, I felt Rachel McAdams was unusual casting at first but slowly warmed to her. The direction was solid and every shot was clean and precise. The story itself was relevant and felt very realistic in terms of spy espionage. Hard to call this a thriller though, when really there were no thrills...I wasn't gripped! There are two tense scenes and they each last about ten seconds: the train chase and the taxi escort towards the end...that was it. I wasn't gripped, I wasn't compelled and I certainly wasn't transfixed with what was happening. Sure it's watchable and the technical aspects are there but it was too hard to follow. Everyone was dead pan serious, literally! No one liners or any fun to be had here, it's stern cold stares and monotonous facial expressions. It all seemed too...what's the word...clinical? Like it would've benefited better if it was a TV drama? Look I don't hate the film, I found it to be watchable...just not compelling enough for me to get excited about it. "A gripping spy thriller"? No, I'm afraid not.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2015
    How are the ratings for this so high? This is hands-down one of the most boring films I have ever seen. It's confusing as all hell and almost nothing happens the entire time. So bad.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2014
    Although slow and understated, A Most Wanted Man creates suspense with a new threat in a worn out world of bureaucracy and burn out. Hoffman and McAdams are marvelous.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2014
    While "A Most Wanted Man" may seem rough around the edges and lack any true twists to properly place this amongst some of the best spy thrillers, it still delivers on intensity and realism. To start, the acting is top notch from Hoffman, McAdams, Dafoe, and the rest even with their attempts at German accents. I suppose in Hollywood you cast the actor for the role, but I've never understood their steadfastness to put Americans in foreign roles to fake an accent. As a side note, the worst that comes to mind is Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. Aside from that, Hoffman wins the best actor award for all the participants in this film with a stoic performance as the lead director in the German spy organization attempting to figure out the identity of an illegal immigrant. It seemed a bit slow on the take to start to establish where things were going, but the meat of the film from about 45 minutes in through to the end carried nicely. Again, while there weren't any twists or turns to speak of in your standard spy thriller, there are a handful of small will-he/she or won't-he/she moments. Overall, Hoffman has himself a nice flick to hang his hat on before he passed. His intensity alone is enough to watch this through and through.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer

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