Robert Chesley

“The Debt” – Review

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Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkenson, and Sam Worthington star in this period espionage thriller, is it worth a look?

I’m a fan of espionage thrillers. When I think of the best times I’ve ever had in movies it was films that made me think about what was going to happen next. Maybe it was a government cover up? It could be a political intrigue? Either way, I love the journey these films that always captivate the viewer into asking what is next.

“The Debt” attempts to take the viewer on a trip to unknown lands that are as restrictive as they are fascinating. Much of the film takes place in what was known as East Berlin. We spend the film following three Israelian spies as they track down and attempt to hold a trial for a notorious Nazi killer for his war crimes. These three people are brought together because of their amazing talents and strengths. What follows throughout most of the film is the blossoming love triangle between the three characters. We follow several attempts to track down this murderous doctor.

I wouldn’t call “The Debt” a bad film. In fact, I loved most of the shots in the film. What I didn’t like was the story. It didn’t seem to keep me interested and I guessed the end game right away. While many films of the genre don’t always include a love triangle twist, there wasn’t much of a pay off in the end. In a story that ultimately comes down to telling the truth, we spent much of it wallowing in a sea of confusing dialogs and set ups that didn’t go anywhere. While I enjoyed the accuracy of the language, it was a little much at times, particularly that while we were nearing the end point, we forgot about the language all together and moved right into talking in English. I thought individual performances were good, just it didn’t equate much better in the end.

I would recommend this movie to fans of the spy genre or of historical fiction. This film felt much longer than it actually was and tried to cram a lot of information in a very short period of time.

The Debt will be released in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 and is MPAA-rated “R” (for some violence and language).

From the official synopsis:

The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (played by Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) and Stephan (two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds of Focus’ upcoming Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). All three have been venerated for decades by Israel because of the secret mission that they embarked on for their country back in 1965-1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain [The Help, The Tree of Life], Marton Csokas [the upcoming Dream House], and Sam Worthington [Avatar, Clash of the Titans]) tracked down Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), the feared Surgeon of Birkenau, in East Berlin. While Rachel found herself grappling with romantic feelings during the mission, the net around Vogel was tightened by using her as bait.

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 that compel Rachel to take matters into her own hands.

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