The Debt, an exceptional thriller, works on many levels. Its structure has just enough pay-attention moments that some viewers will be confused if they don’t. That’s big plus for me. The plot is about a search by three Mossad agents for a Nazi war criminal, the Surgeon of Birkenau. They plan to take him alive and return with him to Israel to stand trial. There are tense, queasy scenes that range from gynecology exams to insidious attempts to undermine the three by the doctor. There is violence that doesn’t go over the top and a masterful grab-him sequence. All this by three young agents in East Berlin in 1968. Then the structure is repeated, this time by two of the agents, thirty years later, as they try to deal with a secret they thought had been buried. The two sets of actors are all very good, but expecially those playing the older group…Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds. Jesper Christensen as the doctor is outstanding, and could easily dominate the film if it weren’t for the teamwork of the three actors as agents when the agents were young, and for Helen Mirren. Maybe I’ll get around to a full set of comments. Whatever quibbles about this or that are minor.
I am rather feeling that I am getting repetitive when I say “remakes are a dime-a-dozen” these days, but this is actually fact. I usually don’t like remakes, though there are a few that were arguably better than the original in my view (John Carpenter‘s “the Thing“, Cronenberg‘s “The Fly“, the Coen’s “True Grit” and the more recent “I Spit on Your Grave“ to name some). Director John Madden’s “The Debt” … more
Even the best secret agents carry a debt from a past mission. Rachael Singer must now face up to hers... 'The Debt' directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) is the story of what happens when the lie you've been living for decades finally catches up to you. What do you do? The year is 1997. Rachel (Helen Mirren) and her husband Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) retired Mossad secret agents learn that their former colleague, … more
I go to movies all the time while in release, one to two a week. Seeing Jessica Chastain in both The Help, and Tree of Life, made me decide to see The Debt, my favorite moviegoing experience of the year. Director John Madden directed Shakespeare in Love which won 7 Academy Awards including, Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow, and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench. He also directed Prime Suspect 3 starring both Helen Mirren and Ciaran Hinds, who both star in The Debt; and … more
Star Rating: According to Wikipedia, the modern-day definition of a hero is a character that, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. The Debt tells the story of three people who may or may not fit this description. I have to be careful with my wording here, since the film depends on a great deal of secrecy – and to my great surprise and delight, very few … more
THE DEBT Written by Matthew Vaughan, Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan Directed by John Madden Starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain and Tom Wilkinson Stephan Gold: Truth is a luxury. Debt has always been something of a dirty word but hopefully the anxiety it inspires in people won’t keep them away from the new John Madden film, entitled THE DEBT. Those who do see it will be swept up in a whole other kind of restless stress, the kind only a good thriller … more
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … more
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