Wanted-Man-Review

Spy thriller author John le Carre writes complicated, twisted tales of suspense and covert ops. In the 60s he wrote about the Cold War – now it’s the Middle East. First let’s go over some of le Carre’s past film adaptations: most recently Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), The Constant Gardener (2005), The Tailor of Panama (2001) and The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1965). All of these films have one thing in common: they are dry and very confusing, at least to me.

Now let’s look at A Most Wanted Man, also based on a le Carre book. This film is fast-paced and filled with intensity and action, but easy to follow. Is it le Carre’s novel writing that has gotten less muddled and involved? Well, maybe. Is it because we, as an audience, are more prepared for convoluted plots, with more and more spy action thrillers being made (The Bourne series, the recent Bond movies, etc.)? Could be, but I think it has more to do with how the book is adapted…how expert the screenwriter is at adapting the twists and turns on the screen.

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Since I wrote a post on the 2003 version, here’s my post for the 2009:
As I wrote in my post for the 2003 BBC TV production of this tale, it is a well-done, intense political thriller…that is a must see. This one is about 4 hours shorter than the British TV production, but it is just as taut and gripping as the first…maybe even better since it does that same job in a feature film length. Keeping most of the story in tact, this version has a congressman caught in a sex scandal with a murdered young researcher from his office. The congressman’s former roommate is a reporter who is on the story and trying his best to keep both his loyalties to his congressman friend and his newspaper job. Like All the President’s Men, this film really takes you inside the inner workings of a Washington D.C.’s newspaper office…keeping the nightmare pace and the cutthroat-ness in tact. I’m sure the newspaper biz is hectic and frantic in most of the country, but add in the turmoil of political and you get a hellish frenzy. Excellent performances by all make this movie a fabulous political and journalistic thriller. Watch both versions and compare for yourself!

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I am not a big fan of recent war movies…especially those about the Iraqi War. The ones I have seen have had a distorted message that messes up the story so much that it ruins the movie. But, the cast was so good here…I thought I would try it. And, it turned out to be a good, strong movie that is more about what war does to the people and less about why we are over there. The story revolves around three lost souls…who are on month leave from the Army and from the Middle East. Two of them want out of the Army…one is just confused with her life in general. But, in the end, they all find that the Army not only provides them with common ground, it is the stability they all need. Wonderful!

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