A Most Wanted Man
Nowhere was this ability more manifest this year than in Hoffman’s performance in Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, adapted from John le Carré’s 2008 novel. I can’t imagine anyone (maybe Richard Burton, who in 1965 embodied the defeatist Alec Leamas in Martin Ritt's film adaptation of le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) inhabiting the role of post-9/11 German spy Günther Bachmann as utterly as Hoffman does in one of the most consummate character studies ever put to film.
John Slattery’s directorial debut, God's Pocket based on Pete Dexter’s 1983 novel, takes its structure from the noir tradition of the hard drinking reporter, embodied here in Richard Jenkins, who romanticizes the mean streets and the wise guys who inhabit them.
|Richard Jenkins in God's Pocket|
Michaël R. Roskam’s The Drop, a pulpy, noir-ish suspense tale adapted by Dennis Lehane from his 2009 short story "Animal Rescue," features Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini. Gandolfini plays Marv, the one-time titular owner of Marv's, a neighborhood “drop” bar where the underground launders its currency. Hardy’s Bob Saginowski is the bartender, a quiet man who keeps his own counsel.
|Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace in The Drop|
|James Gandolfini in The Drop|
|Noomi Rapace and Matthis Schoenaerts in The Drop|
Hardy, a British actor, has an impressive roster of supporting roles in American films to his credit. He crafted a remarkable performance as the sole screen presence in Steven Knight’s 2013 Locke. In The Drop, as the central figure in a seedy urban neighborhood, he again manages to make a character of mundane ordinariness intense, compelling, and grounded in an authentic, if unconventional, morality.
|Tom Hardy in The Drop|