Ok so let's talk about a movie that basically no one has heard of. See this is a problem. Why? Because Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is his last movie in a starring role, (he died just a few days after finishing his scenes for this) and fortunately the movie knows this and is very aware of it. They go out of their way to ensure that he gets as much screen time as he possibly can, even if it means having awkward camera angles focusing on Hoffman and his reactions instead of the actor actually talking at the moment. It's unusual, and can be slightly distracting at times, but it still works because this movie does truly show off the greatness of Hoffman. It is the sendoff that Hoffman deserved. Nothing fancy or spectacular, but just another reminder of how far Hoffman would go to engross himself in a role. From an incredibly convincing German accent, to adding immense production value by drinking and/or smoking in almost every scene, Hoffman shines here just as he did in every other movie he's starred in. You will be missed, Mr. Hoffman. All the feels.
It's easy to forgot about the rest of the movie as Hoffman engrosses you in his role, but there is a rest of the movie. First off, the rest of the cast alongside Hoffman is an A-list cast for a movie that would probably be placed in an indie category. From Rachel McAdams to William Dafoe to Robin Wright, the supporting cast here is utterly amazing. Actually the supporting cast here is so good that it overshadows the role of Daniel Bruhl in this movie. It is unfortunate that a man with this much talent follows a breakout performance in Rush from last year with a supporting role here that's comparable to Lupita Nyong'o following her performance in 12 Years a Slave with her three whole lines in Non-Stop, (what about Non-Stop though?) but the only difference being that Nyong'o clearly filmed that simultaneously with 12 Years. Daniel Bruhl did not. DANIEL BRUHL WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAN? WHY CAN'T YOU FIND BETTER WORK THAN BEING THAT GUY STARING AT ALL THE COMPUTERS WITH TWO LINES? AND WHAT ABOUT NON-STOP THOUGH? Ok I should stop my plug on Daniel Bruhl cause after all this is my second plug this review. Ok moving on! The movie is beautiful. Absolutely stunning cinematography and scenic pans. The score is cool too, and the dialogue is sharp and meaningful. The production value and direction are all spot-on, too. There really are only a few faults here, guys. Otherwise this movie is on top of its game.
The biggest fault of this movie is that unless if you stay 100% engaged, it is very easy to get lost. Now I was 100% engaged, but even at times the accents were so good I would have trouble fully understanding them, and then guess what? I'd be lost briefly. It's a deep movie! Just be aware of this going into it. It's not a "hey let's hang out and watch a movie" type of movie. It's a "hey let's watch a movie and hang out afterwards" type of movie. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this fact mind you, you just have to be prepared to give this movie your full and undivided attention. And it will not disappoint you in doing so. The only other complaint I have with this movie is with the ending. I understand why they ended the movie as such, but even still, it ends so abruptly that it feels very unresolved. Oh well. A relatively minor complaint at the end of the day. This movie is still excellent. Go see it.
The Critique: Philip Seymour Hoffman at his finest. Engrossing, compelling, and gritty, this movie is a great way to kick off the autumn movie season.
The Recommendation: if you are a fan of gritty spy movies, or Philip Seymour Hoffman, put this at the top of your list. Now.
Rewatchability: Moderately High
The Verdict: 8.5/10 Between great and awesome