A Most Wanted Man
A Most Wanted Man Synopsis
The German port city of Hamburg was where Mohammed Atta and his collaborators planned the Sept. 11 attacks, a fact that has kept intelligence operatives there on high alert more than a decade later. It’s against this tense backdrop of justified paranoia and lingering shame that rumpled, hard-drinking Gunter Bachmann (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) runs a secret anti-terrorism team seeking to develop sources within the Islamic community that will lead them to higher-profile suspects. It’s a risky task, requiring patience and sensitivity as well as a willingness to hold back and negotiate, and in this Bachmann finds himself continually at odds with paper-pushing Hamburg intelligence head Dieter Mohr (Rainer Bock), who would rather arrest first and ask questions later.
The subject of their latest clash of wills is 26-year-old Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant who turns up in Hamburg looking half dead. Having suffered torture and imprisonment in both his native countries, he takes shelter with a Muslim woman (Derya Alabora) and her son (Tamer Yigit), and quickly connects with Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams), a passionate young human-rights attorney who agrees to help Karpov claim an inheritance worth tens of millions of Euros. Classified by authorities as an escaped militant jihadist, this disheveled man of mystery is of immense interest to Mohr, who wants him arrested before he can make contact with Islamic terrorist cells, but also to Bachmann, whose instinct is always to pause, look at the bigger picture and make the most strategic move.
To that end, Bachmann reaches out to both Richter and Tommy Brue (William Dafoe), head of the bank that is holding the desired funds. Both of them will play key roles in Bachmann’s plan to lay a trap — not for Karpov, but for Dr. Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), a respected Muslim academic and philanthropist whom the team has been tracking for months, and who is suspected of secretly backing terrorist activity by way of donations to a Cyprus-based shipping company. Bachmann is given 72 hours to pull it all together, thanks to some leverage provided by Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), a slippery and formidable CIA agent who articulates, not without irony, the ostensible reason why she and Bachmann do what they do: “To make the world a safer place.”