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The Debt (I) (2010)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  31 August 2011 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 48,924 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 151 user | 248 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Tomer Ben David ...
Sarah's Husband (Tel Aviv 1997)
Ohev Ben David ...
Sarah's Son (Tel Aviv 1997)
Jonathan Uziel ...
Mossad Agent (Tel Aviv 1997)
Elana Kivity Davenport ...
Publisher (Tel Aviv 1997)
Eli Zohar ...
Stephan's Driver (Tel Aviv 1997)
Irén Bordán ...
Seminar Moderator (Tel Aviv 1997)
...
...
...
...
...
Frau Bernhardt / Nurse (Berlin 1965)
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Storyline

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 Focus Features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every secret comes with a price

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

31 August 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al filo de la mentira  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,949,109 (USA) (2 September 2011)

Gross:

$31,146,570 (USA) (28 October 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The plane seen landing in the background during the agents' arrival scene at the beginning of the movie is an Antonov An-26 of the Hungarian Air Force with fake Israeli markings. See more »

Goofs

The junction box where Stephan listens into the emergency call from Dr. Bernhardt's office is marked "DDR Telekommunikation". The term "Telekommunikation" wasn't in use in German speaking countries before the 1990s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Stephan: Breathe.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Estrenos Críticos: La despedida de David (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschland Uber Alles
(uncredited)
Written by Joseph Haydn
Sung by Martin Csokas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Burden of Truth
2 September 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Espionage thrillers can be so much fun in both book and movie form. Movies actually have a little advantage for the action scenes. Books clearly have the advantage in details, backstory and character development. What is frustrating as a viewer is when a movie starts strong and then crumbles under the weight of expectation ... sometimes trying to make a bigger splash than necessary. Such is the case with director John Madden's remake of the rarely-seen 2007 Israeli film "HA-HOV".

The story is centered around a 1965 mission of a trio of Mossad agents. Mossad is Israel's CIA. These three agents, Rachel (Jessica Chastain), Stephan (Marton Csokas) and David (Sam Worthington) are to capture the notorious Nazi war criminal, the Surgeon of Birkenau (Jesper Christensen), and bring him back for a proper trial of war time atrocities.

Flash forward to 1997 and Rachel's daughter has written a book about the daring mission and the three heroes. The older version of the characters are played by Helen Mirren (Rachel), Tom Wilkinson (Stephan) and Ciran Hinds (David). We are treated to flashbacks of the mission and how things took a wrong turn, but ended just fine. Or did they? There seems to be some inconsistencies with the story told and the actual events that have created much strain between Rachel and Stephan, and life-altering changes for the more sensitive David.

This is an odd film because the best story parts occur when the younger cast members are carrying out the 1965 mission. It is full of suspense and intrigue. The intensity and believability drops off significantly in the 1997 version, but oddly, the older actors are much more fun to watch on screen ... especially the great Helen Mirren. I am not sure what all of that really means, but for me, it meant the third act of the film was a bit hokey and hard to buy.

Director John Madden is known for his fabulous "Shakespeare in Love", but not much else. His films since then have all come up just a bit short of that very high bar he set 13 years ago. Jessica Chastain continues her fantastic 2011 season adding this performance to her more spectacular turns in "Tree of Life" and "The Help". Sam Worthington is known for his role in "Avatar", but his character here is so thinly written, I doubt any actor could have pulled it off. Jesper Christensen seems to usually play the bad guy and he is in full glory here as a Nazi war criminal with no regrets.

The first half will keep you on the edge of your seat, but by the end you will have a somewhat empty feeling. What a shame as this one teased us with much hope.


55 of 82 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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