It is imperative to be able to cope with past failures. It will bring more fatal failures in the present day and the future otherwise. However, when dealing with failure, most people focus more on technical aspects; and ignore the facts that some persons may contribute to the failure. Some persons proven to be parasitic or, in better way, opportunistic; and they don’t even care about the impact of what they have done to others. And, this kind of people make use the issue of friendship, professionalism or other social form of relationship. This is the core of A Most Wanted Man, one of the latest films of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman released in 2014.
Taking place in Hamburg, A Most Wanted Man portrays Gunther Bachman (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an ambitious government agent working on unconventional methods of recruiting people of jihadist ties who come to Germany to start a new life. Nearly all of them are of Arabic blood. He tries to reconcile with his past failures on the similar business, and quite successful in recruiting Jamal Abdullah (Mehdi Dehbi), son of Dr. Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), a Moslem philanthropist whose connection with Islamic foundations spark his interest. In the meantime, there comes Issa Karpov (Grigory Dobrygin) from Turkey. The political refugee has Chechen mother and Russian father who apparently left a large sum of money in the bank managed by Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe). His arrival drives Gunther’s curiosity, and the agent has no more meaningful cooperation other than with Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), a lawyer working at Sanctuary North whose client is Issa. Issa just wants to use the money his father inherrited to have a decent life in Germany, but Dieter Mohr (Rainer Bock) and Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright) have the opposite thinking. Different from Gunther who patiently follows Issa’s move and uses Annabel to persuade Issa to use the money in a way that he manages to find those at the top of food chain of Islamic terrorism, both persons want to get Issa as soon as possible before he flees. It was Martha that contributed most to Gunther’s failure in the past, but, under the issue of professionalism, the man is able to deal with such action. Being reckless, Gunther has to deal with second wave of shock delivered by Martha, ruining his effort to get his target in the terrorism business.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is a star of character. Again, in A Most Wanted Man, he managed to show his talent playing the role of secret agent. If you embrace intriguing story, then you must see the movie. It tells the failure of secret agents in defining and discovering the bad guys. Pragmatism and the need to climb higher rank within the institution mostly lure conventional secret agents to create failure and failures and sacrifice innocent people. The story of Issa Karpov, for example, is actually a natural one and driven by human causes. Issa wants to have a decent and respectable life using the money Grigory Borisovich Karpov left. His father was a high-rank Russian military officer who also among the patrons of Russian mob. Gunther, who wants to discover links to jihadists movement around Dr. Faisal Abdullah, asks Annabel to tell Issa that it’s better for him to donate the dirty money to Islamic institutions instead of using it to meet his personal needs. Till the end of the movie, there is no single clue that Issa is involved in any Islamis terrorist organization. But, we come to the conclusion that a secret agent will do anything, any nasty thing that could ruin other’s life in order to meet his/her goal: something natural and human. No guns, no meaningful physical actions involved, A Most Wanted Man should be enlisted in your favorite movie.