Friday night I went to see The Debt with my husband. I can say that, as the movie ended, I was very disappointed and saddened that there were only a few people in the movie theater to see it. A thriller with a serious topic and a dark theme, it was heads above anything else playing at the movies at the time. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a few award nominations down the road. But, for now, here’s the review.
The movie is about three venerated Israeli heroes, former agents of Mossad (Rachel, Stefan and David) who helped to track and bring down a notorious Nazi criminal, a monster called the Surgeon of Birkenau, who performed medical experiments in a concentration camp on the Jewish prisoners – men, women and children. But did the mission go as planned and as the story was told? Or are there secrets to be revealed about the mission? The movie jumps between the 1997 Tel Aviv, where the three reside now, and the 1966 East Berlin when the mission took place.
The first half hour of the movie gets somewhat confusing as the scenes jump back and forth in time, but it all soon comes together cohesively and coherently. The only part I found a bit lacking and less realistic or believable was the later part and the ending. I understood what the writers and the director wanted to show, what moral point they were trying to bring across, but it didn’t go well with the situation or human nature, for that matter.
The cast gave powerful performances. Helen Miren is a pleasure to watch, as always. Her performance is quietly intense and believable. The actress who plays character’s younger self, Jessica Chastain, also gave a solid performance, as did Sam Worthington.
The grave subject matter, and the closeness of it to my heart in certain ways, put me in a serious and reflective mood for the rest of the night.
Despite a few clichés and a weaker second part of the movie, I definitely recommend it.