A sequel to the film is in the works – possibly leading to adaptations of the full so-called Karla Trilogy – but we won’t have to wait for long for more of the author’s adapted work. His 2010 novel Our Kind of Traitor is also being turned into an upcoming film and will be beaten to the punch by Anton Corbijn’s version of A Most Wanted Man. The good news for fans of Tinker Tailor is that Corbijn has handled this sort of thing before, directing the equally slow and gloomy spook flick The American, and that it’s looking good.
What will really be drawing attention to the film, of course, is its status as the last outing of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who takes on the lead role of alcoholic German spy chief Gunter Bachmann. The action – or lack thereof – takes place in Hamburg, the site of the planning of the 9/11 attacks, where Bachmann and a small team of agents keep tabs on the city’s entire Muslim community. Willem Defoe appears as a banker caught up in Bachmann’s dealings, whilst Rachel Macadams portrays a potentially very annoying human rights lawyer likely to be reminiscent of Rachel Weisz’s character in The Constant Gardener. All focus their attention on the arrival of a half-Russian, half-Chechen immigrant fleeing imprisonment and torture and trying to claim a rich inheritance.
Leaving the polished 60s look of the last film behind, A Most Wanted Man continues Le Carré’s recent probing of contemporary political turmoil where the paranoia of the Cold War has been replaced by the fear of unseen and unpredictable terrorist threats, less clear ideologies and the proliferation of technology, weapons and hard cash.
Judging by the trailer, it’s going to be a good-looking film that delivers on its promise of tense menace. Hoffman seems to have gone for the understated approach, befitting Le Carré’s characters and the pace of the plot – though his apparently German accent sounds more like Anthony Hopkins’ native Welsh rumble than anything else.
However it turns out, neither another cinematic outing from the spymaster author nor one last performance from Hoffman can come soon enough.
Now with the UK Trailer!