The Debt

This one is a dandy! Wonderful cast, wonderful script and a completely unpredictable plot.

We run on two tracks throughout this film, the first track is 1997 when the daughter of one of our leads publishes a book based on the 1966 adven- tures of her mother and two fellow Mossad operatives as they track down a heinous Nazi war criminal. Those earlier events constitute the second track. The three former agents are shocked to discover that the man they supposedly killed in 1966 is still alive and scheduled to talk with a journalist in Kiev.

A script this complex requires a capable director, and John Maddox ("Shakespeare in Love") is our man. In addition, he has this wonderful cast:
  • Jessica Chastain ("The Help") is Rachel-1966, a young widow recruited by Mossad to find and capture the criminal. Watch her steel herself to cope with that evil doctor, with her legs suspended in a gynecologist's stirrups!
  • Helen Mirren ("Red") is Rachel-1997, scarred from her horrific experience, emotionally and physically. Her battle is up close and personal, and we are with her every nail-biting inch of the way.
  • Sam Worthington ("Avatar") is David-1966, determined to avenge his family by exposing the doctor and his crimes to the world.
  • CiarĂ¡n Hinds ("The Eclipse") is David-1997, haunted by his abandonment of Mossad, his lost love, and most of all, by his lie.
  • Marton Csokas ("The Bourne Supremacy") is Stephan-1966, smooth, focused, talented and unwilling to admit defeat.
  • Tom Wilkinson ("The Ghost Writer") is Stephan-1997, now wheelchair bound, but still a leader and still unwilling to yield.
When I first felt confused, I tried to dismiss it, but as the story unfolded, I thought back and suddenly it made sense. When you compare the hand- to-hand combat in this film to the over-the-top fisticuffs we usually see, we are reminded of the humanity of the people we see on the screen. This makes the story far more involving than cartoonish mayhem.

PLUS: No one conveys vulnerability and pain better than Worthington. Each time I see him I think, "That last time must have been just a fluke," but then he gets me again!

Don't miss this one.

PS: I DO have a quibble. Both Hinds and Wilkinson are capable actors, so why not have each one depict the character who, physically, is a better match with the younger version? For example, Wilkinson and Worthington both have singularly round heads, while Hinds and Csokas are taller, darker and more angular. This would have been a more realistic pairing.

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Here's a link to a trailer:
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