Messy and overlong, this based-on-a-true-story crime drama still has an innovative structure and crisp, colorful performances that grab you, even as you feel enraged by its cruelty and corruption. With Most Wanted, writer-director Daniel Roby has figured out a creative way to tell the story from various ends, all meeting in the middle with a satisfying snap. This way, a variety of characters end up feeling more human -- they drive the story rather than being driven by it. Pilon is terrific, at first coming across as past redemption but eventually developing fears and hopes that make him appealing.
Gaffigan adds dark humor to his nasty, deceitful character, and McHattie is as grizzled as they come, broken by the fact that he's been overlooked for a much needed promotion. Hartnett swaggers across the screen with his long, flowing hair, but he too becomes likable thanks to his connection to his wife. Unfortunately, Crew has little to do other than wait for her husband and worry, and the only other major female character, played by Rose-Marie Perreault, disappears before she can leave much of a mark. Roby relies on irritating, wobbly hand-held camerawork for much of the movie, and it does occasionally betray a bit of self-importance and bloat, but overall Most Wanted works thanks to its focus and its life energy.