The espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stefan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1965, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington) 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. Written by
I went to The Debt because I had seen the trailers ages ago and was instantly telling myself I wanted to see this film. Not to be reminded about one of the ugliest of human stains in world history; not because I wanted to think about images in a WWII documentary I happened to watch unattended at an adult party when I was seven years old and will never forget (but, I try); not because I wanted something to feel bad about.
I went because of the reviews, the trailer, and Helen Mirren, and pretty much the entire ensemble of brilliant actors. It was a bit slow starting according to my companion, and some of the initial flashbacks left one a little confused, and then once the story started when the Mossad agents were in Germany to track down and bring the "Surgeon of Birkenau" to trial, I was so glad it was a reminder film. That no one will ever fully understand what drives a nation and group like the Mossad to do what they do. This made me understand a little bit more.
This was a very tragic, thoughtful film with the embodiment of the mortal coil and well worth watching and thinking about. Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain as the young Rachel were so good. Give Mirren another Oscar already. And, the men, including the "Surgeon" who I wanted to kill myself, were all so very good in this.
I don't agree the film lagged at the end. In fact, it left you wondering, questioning, the twist was unexpected, and I am glad, despite the lingering tears in my eyes as I write this, that I saw it. My fellow cinematic partner agreed as well. Go see this film. You won't forget it. And, we really shouldn't ever forget it.
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