It’s always hard seeing films with posthumous performances. I don’t mean watching a Jimmy Stewart classic or a Marilyn Monroe comedy. I mean watching Heath Ledger’s Joker or James Gandolfini in Enough Said. Here, we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (who died in February) in one of his final roles. Sadly, even his brilliant, charismatic performance isn’t enough to help this film.
Hoffman plays Gunther Bachman, a spy in an anti-terrorism unit in Germany. When a Chechen Muslim, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), enters the country illegally, all eyes are on him as various government agencies wait for the other shoe to drop. Meanwhile, Bachman and his group suspect that an influential Muslim doctor, Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), is secretly funding radical Islamic groups using his charitable organization as a front. With the help of a legal advocate, Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), Bachman slowly realizes that Karpov is an innocent victim. Bachman's team is tasked with exposing Abdullah, while helping the Karpov gain asylum.
I will be honest: I found the movie tedious. It’s as if the filmmakers let an agenda supercede the story. If the point of the movie is to highlight the incompetence (or malevolence or dysfunction) of anti-terror groups, OK, we get it. I guess I was hoping for a really wonderful, intelligent story. Making a statement at the expense of the plot is inexcusable. In the end, I shrugged my shoulders and thought: So, what else is new? It’s a 5.