Ulrich Mott (Christoph Waltz
) is an eccentric and versatile social climber with grandiose plans to affect United States foreign policy. He is encouraged and egged on in his attempts by his strategically chosen (and much older) wife, the well-connected journalist Elsa Brecht (Vanessa Redgrave
). Mott has a knack for making himself indispensable and impossible to ignore whether it is as an intern, the perfect host, or a Brigadier General of the Iraqi Special Forces. He has an impeccable sense for when to flatter and how to deftly use political jargon to his advantage. The only one seemingly immune to his charms is Elsa's daughter, Amanda (Annette Bening
), who might simply disapprove of her mother marrying a much younger man or perhaps she senses something more sinister beneath the smooth-talking surface
Waltz, in his directorial debut, Redgrave, and Bening form an electrifying trio who pull the viewer into this fascinating and layered world. The mystery hinges on Mott, who is either a misunderstood political genius or a calculating charlatan. Or, possibly, both.