The Debt

The Debt

(2010)

Spy thriller following the story of Rachel Singer (played by the great Helen Mirren), a former Mossad agent who endeavoured to capture and bring to trial a notorious Nazi war criminal – the Surgeon of Birkenau – in a secret Israeli mission that ended with his death on the streets of East Berlin.... More

30 years later, a man claiming to be the doctor has surfaced, and Rachel must go back to Eastern Europe to uncover the truth. The still-celebrated heroine must relive the trauma of those events and confront "the debt" she has incurred.

Also stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) and Kiwi Marton Csokas (Romulus, My Father). The Debt is based on the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov.Hide

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Flicks Review

With the deaths this year of Bin Laden and Gaddafi, The Debt’s examination of how a narrative forms around the murky truths of assassination and espionage is timely. When that narrative is part of the developmental process of a nation, as the Mossad’s plan to hunt down Nazi war criminals was for Israel, it can take on a life of its own, whether true or not. This creates the sense of guilt that drives the events of The Debt.... More

Set in both the 1960s and 1990s, the film tells the story of an Israeli operation to bring a war criminal to justice and the effect liberties with the truth threaten to have 30 years later. Helen Mirren’s character has managed to live with this until pushed to confront it and her subsequent investigations and arguments with a former colleague (Tom Wilkinson) are intercut with the mission itself. With this star power it comes as a surprise that The Debt’s strongest moments stem from scenes with younger versions of these characters; Jessica Chastain (Tree Of Life) proving a compelling screen presence and our own Martin Csokas a magnificent creep.

But for all this acting power on display (and a script co-written by Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn and Peter Straughan), The Debt comes off as less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps that’s because the film is so performance-focused that the broader ramifications of its characters’ actions aren’t immediately obvious, but it doesn’t manage to sustain the sort of tension the subject matter deserves nor provide a satisfactory resolution.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY adeej superstar

I went to see 'The Debt' with my sister and for the first part of the movie, I was feeling apologetic to her for bringing her to this awful movie where the plot was very hard to follow. However, later in the movie, when I started to realise what was actually happening, I started to enjoy this film more. It's definitely not a film I would want to own, but I came out of the cinema in deep thought about what I had just seen. It turned out to be a better film than I thought.


The Press Reviews

77% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • IT grips like the proverbial vice, skilfully negotiating a succession of twists, turns and reversals against an expertly recreated Cold War setting. Full Review

  • The Debt pays off as an intelligent thriller that's more concerned with human emotions than political intrigue. Full Review

  • There's nothing here that feels particularly original beyond the structure itself, which skillfully keeps one guessing until late in the game. Full Review

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