Director: Anton Corbijn
Writers: Andrew Bovell (screenplay), John le Carré (novel)
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Brühl, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright
Running Time: 122 mins.
Philip Seymour Hoffman brilliantly plays Günther Bachmann an exasperated and subdued German counter intelligence agent in this spy thriller that relies on slow and thoughtful methodology rather than flashy stunts. It’s an intelligent drama of intrigue and politics.
Bachmann has been tracking money going from Hamburg to Islamic terrorists and when a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant (Grigoriy Dobrygin as Issa Karpov) turns up laying claim to his father’s ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies collaborate to establish the man’s intent. Is he the torture victim he claims to be or an Islamic extremist with a big bank account up to no good?
Only Bachmann seems to be willing to discern the truth and think through the plans to apprehend him while the German police and CIA agent Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright) want to pounce and blow the lid off Bachmann’s investigation, something they’ve done in the past. Bachmann treads lightly and works diligently to use Issa’s identity and new found wealth to find the real source of the money transfer to the terrorists.
Lotta says Hoffman’s got inside Bachmann’s skin so completely, it’s a pleasure to watch this man perform. Willem Dafoe plays the German banker who Bachmann recruits in his investigation while Rachel McAdams is an immigration attorney protecting Issa from authorities. Each and everyone of them gets used through the machinations of politics and stupidity. Good plot, well executed.