…and to have peace in the world (A Most Wanted Man movie review)

Ten years after the attack on the World Trade Center, intelligence services continue to track down dangerous, radical Islamists. Issa, who is a young, extremely exhausted Chechen, manages to arrive to Hamburg – a city that is considered to be one the main terrorist sides in Europe. His presence in the city immediately arouses anxiety of German and British counterintelligence. What’s more, a mysterious man claims the right to a giant fortune, which years ago was deposited in a private bank.  The intelligence services will arrange a provocation, in which not only agents will appear, but also a young, idealistic layer and an old banker…

“A Most Wanted Man”, directed by Anton Corbijn, is a story about the world that is never black and white. Is Issa a victim of an oppressive system or dangerous terrorist whose next move may be tragic? The movie is constructed as a fight between two counterintelligences that lead their own interviews and investigations. International security is at stake.  The director puts the audience in the situation parallel to the agent’s position – we don’t know more than they do. The behaviour of the protagonist doesn’t reveal his intentions. Corbijin sends only very subtle allusions, but they also can be interoperated in different ways. Issa is being watched not only by us, but also by agents, who are trying to accelerate to process of discovering the truth.

In “A Most Wanted Man” we observe a conglomerate of different attitudes and prejudices. Some characters prefer to presume guilt; some almost uncritically believe in innocence, others are trying to be objective.  But the main dramaturgical line goes somewhere else. Issa is pushed to the back to give a space to the agents from both sides (English and German).  The director focuses on the responsibility that goes hand in hand with all of the possible decision. A question “what if” becomes an obtrusive mantra than needs to be blocked before it paralyzes the ability of making decision and being ready to take the risk.

“A Most Wanted Man” is not a typical thriller, in which the agents confront with the suspect. The director doesn’t focus on action, but on presenting the whole machinery that stands behind the people of intelligence services. It’s an interesting study of mechanisms of discovering and revealing the truth – of all actions that could seem to be forbidden in the modern world that should stay away from such as primitive ways of negotiation as tortures.