The Debt brings together a strong cast of new up and coming actors, as well as some very established ones, head up by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). It also goes back and digs around the Second World War atrocities and makes us remember these once more.
PLOT: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.
DIRECTOR: John Madden
ACTORS: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson
GENRE: Drama, Thriller, Suspense
AGE RESTRICTION: Rated 15 (Violence)
TRIVIA: Both Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds had worked with Helen Mirren before on the TV series, Prime Suspect.
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The film starts in 1997, introducing us to three retired Mossad agents, meeting each other for the first time in years. Something has brought them together once more. Secrets they shared has come back to haunt them.
Then, the film jumps back to the 1960’s, where the three Mossad agents are tasked to find and capture the notorious Nazi criminal Dieter Vogel, called “The Surgeon of Birkenau”. The agents work and live together and hatch a very complicated plan with many variables, in order to capture Vogel and then to extradite him to the USA, where he could stand trial for his crimes.
Something goes wrong with the plan and they are forced to keep him at their safe-house, until a new extraction plan can be devised.
Tension builds as they are forced to care for someone whom is responsible for the deaths of thousands.
The story jumps between the 1960’s and 1997 a few times. The reunion in 1997 isn’t something either of the trio wanted, as each has their own skeletons in the closet that they are trying to keep there.
The whole cast packs solid performances, especially Jessica Chastain as the vulnerable, yet strong new Mossad agent who joins the team and Jesper Christensen as the killer the team loathes. The 1960’s portion of the film shows much better performances than the 1997 portion, and the uneasy tension between the three agents and their unlikely hostage is kept up by great acting by all four actors.
The older actors do well in their respective roles as the older versions of the agents, but unfortunately none of them have a close resemblance to their younger versions, which makes it all the more unbelievable and less impacting. Their parts are also not written with the same enthusiasm as seen with their younger counterparts.
As you’ve also gathered, the subject matter is not the kind that will have you leave the movie all smiles, but it is a provocative piece that sheds some light on the life-long impact atrocities like war can have on people. It blurs the lines between right and wrong and does so with a ferocious intensity.
If you want mind-numbing, no thinking fun, go watch This Means War, alternatively, if you are looking for a thought-provoking, moving film, then this is it.
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