A Most Wanted Man. No one I saw it with agreed with me, but I thought it was really good. Has a similar feel to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: cold, deliberate. This isn’t the sexy/sneaky side of spying. This is conversation, paperwork, negotiation, management. Every now and then you get to use a hidden camera. The only other Anton Corbijn film I’ve seen is The American, and it’s great.
The American. It seems that critics are a bit mixed, but I’m with Ebert: I loved this one. It got billed as a semi-action-thriller. Yeah, there’s some killin’, but this is really more of a slow-burning mood piece like Le Samouraï. Or, say, a Sergio Leone western – there’s even a scene with the Once Upon a Time in the West McBain massacre playing in the background. This is not (just) about assassins doing jobs, but about an existential crisis–I detect some parallels in In Bruges, and in film noir like Blast of Silence and my beloved Out of the Past. Except this is set in sunny Italy. Great photography, absolute minimal soundtrack.
Some obvious detractions are the heavy-handed dialogue with the priest and also the–yep–hooker with a heart of gold. But still. Master craftsmanship from Anton Corbijn. I’ll probably watch it again soon. Coincidentally, the only movie I watched twice last year was Clooney’s Michael Clayton. The guy’s got great taste.