A Most Wanted Man (2014)

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Released 10-Dec-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-John Le Carre
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 116:40
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Anton Corbijn
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman
Willem Defoe
Rachel McAdams
Robin Wright
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    John Le Carre has been a best selling author for many years with many of his novels having been made into successful films including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tailor of Panama, The Russia House, The Constant Gardener and more. This new film, A Most Wanted Man is based on one of his most recent novels, set in the modern world where intelligence services are focused on the threat of terrorism rather than other countries. It is an interesting and fascinating drama/thriller (as opposed to action/thriller) which marks the final completed film in the career of Philip Seymour Hoffman, with his untimely death occurring only one week after the film's premiere.

    The film is set in Hamburg, Germany in the modern day. Hamburg is the main entry port into Germany and has a significant problem with illegal immigration. The film opens with a young man of Chechen Muslim background illegally entering Germany through Hamburg. His name is Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) and his arrival is immediately noted by the Hamburg based anti-terror squad led by Gunther Bachman (Philip Seymour Hoffman). They start to investigate who he is and have him trailed to see if he connects with any known terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. This activity attracts the interest of the CIA whose local lead is Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright) plus other branches of the German police and intelligence services, such as Dieter Mohr (Rainer Bock) who start to squabble over the right approach. Into this volatile mix are also added a prominent private banker in Hamburg, Tommy Brue (Willem Defoe), an illegal immigrant rights lawyer, Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), an Islamic philanthropist & businessman, Dr Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi) and others. I won't reveal too much more of the plot as the interactions between these characters and the various twists and turns play out as the movie progresses.

    This is an very high quality terrorism thriller that avoids the usual cliches and tells a story where no-one is completely virtuous and things rarely go to plan. Le Carre's book (and the movie) asks questions about the way intelligence services approach the threat of terrorism and what the impact of our very connected and news hungry world is on this. This film does not feature big action scenes and does not play the story for excitement but rather as a thoughtful, tense and thought provoking drama. The result is an intriguing and interesting film which includes a complex plot and interesting characters, aided by the excellent acting especially from Hoffmann. The film is well directed by Anton Corbijn who is probably best known for music videos and a few feature films like The American, another thoughtful and interesting thriller.

    Although not a major box office hit, this film is definitely worth looking out for, especially for fans of political drama/thrillers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is of excellent quality for DVD with a very sharp and detailed transfer plus colour that well represents the muted and grim colour scheme of what is quite an industrial city. The shadow detail is very good, however, there is some minor aliasing from time to time. The layer change is quite obvious but there is little to complain about with this transfer really. Technically it is 16x9 enhanced and in accordance with the original aspect ratio at 2.35:1.

    There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.

    


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This is not a film to show off your home theatre system, however, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack included here certainly does an great job with the material at hand. An audio descriptive track is also included, encoded as Dolby Digital 2.0. The dialogue is generally nice and clear however sometimes accents prompt you to turn on the subtitles. The music is high quality instrumental and brooding solo piano which adds to the grim and tense atmosphere of the film. Surrounds are well used considering the restrictions of the material for atmosphere, cars and sounds of the city. The subwoofer supports the music and the car sounds.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Two extras of good quality.

Menu

    The menu features music and motion.

The Making of (15:29)

    Featurette on the production featuring some words for Le Carre, interviews with cast & crew, the flawed characters, the acting, Hoffmann and the themes of a post 9/11 world. Worth a look.

Spymaster - John Le Carre in Hamburg (9:08)

    Interview with Le Carre who discusses the novel, his views on terrorism and the current intelligence communities response, his work in Germany for intelligence in his youth, research he did into asylum seekers and the liberty vs security dilemna in the modern world. Very interesting stuff.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A Blu-ray includes the same extras and I presume the DVD would as well. Let's call it a tie from a DVD perspective.

Summary

    A high quality terrorism drama/thriller from the pen of John Le Carre.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are good quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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