Ramascreen delivers us another movie review. For the upcoming drama film The Debt. Please make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
THE DEBT is a first-rate thriller with a solid moral dilemma. How long can someone carry a lie before he reaches a breaking point?! The film consists of practically 2 parts, the story set in the past and the story set in the present which is faced with a couple of choices: to further hide what happened or put everything out in the open for all the world to see. THE DEBT is riveting in every sense of the word..
In this espionage thriller, shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) and Stefan (two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). Back in 1966, the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington [“Avatar,” “Clash of the Titans”]) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.
Some may argue that the apes story in the prequel Rise Of The Apes, is more fascinating than the humans in that same film. I don’t know if I could make the same judgment about THE DEBT, if the present part is better than the past and vice versa because I think both aspects are just as strong and well-acted and well-told.
Director John Madden who gave us 1998′s Shakespeare In Love, and only makes movies once in a blue moon, does a great job of making this movie not go astray from its purpose. You have 3 key characters, young Mossad agents with a mission to capture a Nazi war criminal and bring him to justice. So there’s room for unlikely relationship and chemistry there, something that Madden is good at exploring but just like the characters themselves, Madden always remembers to bring it down to the perspective of why they’re there in the first place, it’s about the mission.
I could go on and on about the rising star Sam Worthington, the fantastic Jessica Chastain, the legendary Helen Mirren, and the consistent Tom Wilkinson but I gotta give the most credit to veteran actor Jesper Christensen whom many would recognize as Mr. White in Daniel Craig’s Bond movies.
Christensen plays the Nazi criminal/the sugeon of Birkenau and Christensen plays it like Hannibal Lecter. Some audience might find this type of method old, after all, bad guys messing with your head, toying with your emotions have been done thousands of times before but there’s something about Christensen’s performance that just stays with you, like a character you love to hate. Not to mention I think the script pretty much gives Christensen all the best lines.
There are some things that may help or hurt this movie. People might compare it to Spielberg’s Munich, so THE DEBT going to have to try to measure up to that.
Some might be turned off by the film’s switching back and forth from the past to present to past again but I think the film doesn’t approach it in a way that would mean to annoy, but it does make for a what feels to be pretty lengthy runtime.
And the final part where Helen Mirren’s character tries to ‘deal with’ the past resurfacing, may seem a bit messy, like it has no real clue as to how to appropriately close the story.
But for what its worth, THE DEBT pays its dues in my opinion.
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