Astrology: Film: Review: ‘A Most Wanted Man’ (2014)

Roadside Attractions

Roadside Attractions

The grim espionage business relies, for its success, on Neptunian deception and Plutonic penetration of secrets. The most clever master spies throw a third archetype into the mix: the Saturnine User, who’ll exploit the captured by making them spy on their own people and then feed information back to their new handlers.

In A Most Wanted Man, directed by Anton Corbijn and based on John le Carré’s novel, German intelligence operative Gunter Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is one of those guys who likes turning the terrorists he’s caught into assets. Highly committed, with his conscience more or less intact, he feels it’s a more humane way to run a dirty business.

Gunter is based in Hamburg, the city whose claim to fame is having hosted the terrorists who configured the plans for 9-11. Since then, that city’s anti-terrorist contingent has been super vigilant. And now the rumpled, paunchy, pasty-faced Gunter, who’s consumed by the Lunar protective principle to make the world a safer place – he’s played memorably, earnestly and without a false note by Hoffman –  is faced with a couple of cases that may just land him another asset.

One person Gunter and his pack of loyal young acolytes (including Daniel Brühl) have been tracking is Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), a Muslim academic, family man and humanitarian fund-raiser who’s suspected of funneling some of those charitable donations to Islamic terrorist organizations.

A newer target of interest is Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a young Chechen whom Interpol has designated an escaped militant jihadist. Issa’s cause – he claims to be an asylum seeker, with no ties to terrorism – is taken on by idealistic lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams). And his story about claiming a monetary inheritance that involves banker Thomas Brue (Willem Dafoe) checks out.

From this point on, these two story strands start to dovetail, complicated by an American CIA operative (Robin Wright), various Hamburg intelligence officers, and massive pressure on Gunter to bring in the men or the big, bureaucratic guns will step in and take care of it for him.

Not surprisingly, nothing is as clear cut as it seems, forcing Gunter to deal with deception and manipulation not in his control. The Lunar extended family? The sins of the fathers? Tricky things.

Astrology Film Rating: ☽ ♆ ♇ (Moon, Neptune, Pluto)

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