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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Most Wanted Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Anton Corbijn, 2014)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: The Ink Factory

Video: Lionsgate

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:02:23.586 

Disc Size: 42,359,215,372 bytes

Feature Size: 33,076,008,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.01 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 4th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3678 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3678 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

 

Extras:

• The Making of A Most Wanted Man (16:09)

• Spymaster: John LeCarre in Hamburg (9:32)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The late Philip Seymour Hoffman gives his final screen performance in this taut yet labyrinthine adaptation of John le Carre's 2008 spy novel. In the years immediately following 9/11, Gunter Bachmann (Hoffman) is a counterterrorist expert based in Hamburg who operates as a rogue agent, independently of the Grenzschutzgruppe 9 der Bundespolizei (GSG-9). He specializes in bringing down jihadists, and as the story opens, he begins to fixate on a Chechen immigrant named Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), newly arrived in town. Issa's motivations are initially unknown, but he befriends an American social worker (Rachel McAdams) who grows convinced of his harmlessness and sets about persuading Gunter of the same. Meanwhile, Gunter becomes aware of a palpable and imminent threat to national security that involves future jihad activity, and devises an ingenious plan that he hopes will both extinguish the threat and provide amnesty for Issa. The Americans and the GSG-9, however, learn of Gunter's plot and express both impatience and a general skepticism about the scheme's effectiveness. A Most Wanted Man premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

The Film:

Philip Seymour Hoffman isn’t playing the title character in A Most Wanted Man, but there’s absolutely no doubt who we most want to see, most want dominating the film, and most want back. Of the various projects left unreleased when he died – with the next two Hunger Games sequels still to come – this is clearly the filet.

Like so many other Hoffman characters, his Günther Bachmann is a stifled, almost ruinously intelligent and lonely being. He hulks, he shuffles, he measures his words – delivered in a clipped, curious Teutonic accent you believe belongs to one man alone – with a waiting-game precision. Even by the actor’s remarkable standards, Hoffman’s wheezing authority is lavishly mesmerising in this: it’s legitimately one of his three or four greatest performances, and as you start to deduce how great it is, you feel his loss keenly and afresh.

Excerpt from The Telegraph located HERE

In real life, espionage is not glamorous. It’s like police work – mostly plodding detail work and following up and generally boring ninety-nine percent of the time. John le Carré worked in that field long enough that when he writes about it, he writes with a real understanding of mechanics of the spy game. His ability to make the mundane thrilling is without equal and the creative team behind A Most Wanted Man translate his work to the big screen faithfully. They, like le Carré know how to build the mundane to make that one percent that isn’t mundane harrowing.

Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is head of a small German intelligence organization – he has only a handful of people on his team. They have been trying to find a way to get to a suspected financier of terrorists name Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi, The Kite Runner, Zero Dark Thirty).

Excerpt from Eclipse Magazine located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

A Most Wanted Man looks solid on Blu-ray from Lionsgate - it was shot with HDV (Arri Alexa M, Zeiss Super Speed Lenses) and displays that format's strengths and weaknesses.  The 1080P image quality supports the kinetic camera movement with a high level of detail in the less-frequent close-ups and general softness when the camera is moving. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. Certain colors (yellows) seem bolder and the visuals transition well in-motion. Contrast is adept but with the cinematography style used there is not an abundance of depth. There is no noise or flaws of any kind. The video is, predictably, clean and produces strong HD video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes vis a robust DTS-HD Master surround at 3678 kbps. It's quite impacting taking all the film offers, effects-wise, and exports it very tightly and with depth. The keen score is by Herbert Grönemeyer (who also composed for Corbijn's The American) and it works very well running beside the film. Excellent sound quality here. There are optional subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

No commentary but there are two relevant video featurettes - The Making of A Most Wanted Man runs about 16-minutes and has snippets from the principals - notably director Anton Corbijn - and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. There is also a 10-minute piece entitled Spymaster: John LeCarre in Hamburg - essentially an interview with the author about his book/film set in the German port city.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I like the previous Anton Corbijn films I have seen (The American, Control) and I also found this appealing - a unique 'thinking man's' spy thriller. I'm also a huge Philip Seymour Hoffman fan and had to see this, his last feature-role film. I found A Most Wanted Man very complex and suspenseful - plus Hoffman adds his indelible 'stamp' on the performance. I think it is very much worth seeing.  The Lionsgate Blu-ray produced a fine presentation - and the extras have some value. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 2nd, 2014

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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