About twenty minutes into watching Daniel Roby’s Most Wanted, it dawned on me that there’s something seriously messed up with this story. Then there’s that realization that this is a true story, which makes it exponentially more messed up.
Most Wanted is the true story of Daniel Léger (Antoine Olivier Pilon), who plead guilty to drug trafficking in Thailand or face the death penalty. It’s also the story of reporter Victor Malarek (Josh Hartnett), who was the singular person in the world willing to fight for Léger’s release. Full disclosure: Daniel Léger was not the character’s real name but changed for his protection.
“…Picker doesn’t know a supplier and has Léger wander the streets of Thailand looking for one.”
The film runs three narratives parallel with one another. The first are the events that lead to Léger’s arrest and imprisonment. Set in the 1980s and deep into the failed war on drugs, Canada had its own dog in the fight and received intelligence identifying a major drug supplier in Thailand. Narcotics officer went undercover and made a connection with a suspected Canadian fisherman/drug distributor Picker (Jim Gaffigan), who had befriended Léger early in the film.
Here’s the crazy part. Because Picker saw himself as a big fish in the Canadian drug business, he sold himself as a much bigger player in the drug world than he actually was. Canadian undercover officer Frank Cooper (Stephen McHattie) believed his bravado. Now Cooper used Picker to set up a drug buy in Thailand and arrest the foreign supplier. If that’s not crazy enough, Picker doesn’t know a supplier and has Léger wander the streets of Thailand looking for one. Léger becomes an innocent victim in a government sting operation.
"…incredible performances from Hartnett, Pilon, and Gaffigan."