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"The Debt"
Reviewer:
Edward McNulty
Studio: Miramax Films
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
December 6, 2011
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

Helen Mirren again rises to her usual dramatic height as Rachel Singer in this remake of the Israeli film Ha-Hov about a team of three Mossad agents who years before had been sent to East Berlin to kidnap and bring back to Israel for trial Nazi doctor Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen) who had performed gruesome experiments on prisoners during the Holocaust. The film jumps back and forth between the Fifties and the Sixties and the Nineties, so viewers have to pay close attention to follow the plot twists.***

The dangerous plan involves Rachel (as a young woman played by Jessica Chastain) posing as a patient to seek the help of Vogel, now working as gynecoligist. They manage to kidnap him, but their escape plan goes awry, so they hole up in an apartment where the arrogant doctor taunts them with his anti-Semitic jibes. The two men Stefan and David (Sam Worthington and Martin Csokas, with Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds playing the older pair) soon find themselves in their treatment of the bound-up Vogel acting in the same brutal way as the Nazis had their captors, their hatred boiling over and their patience exhausted as they search for a new means of escaping.***

After their return to Israel where they report that Rachel had shot Vogel when he was trying to escape, the three are regarded as heroes. But they remain haunted by their past and a dark secret that eats away at them. Rachel had been drawn to one of the men but had married the other. She gave birth to a daughter, who, along with her fellow countrymen, had so admired her mother that she wrote a book about her. Then comes news, first that David had committed suicide, and second, a report that might unravel the story, now enshrined in a book, of their mission to Berlin 31 years earlier. Rachel sets out for a former Soviet republic to set matters straight.***

Special Features:

A Look Inside The Debt featurette

Every Secret Has A Price: Helen Mirren In The Debt featurette

The Berlin Affair: The Triangle At The Center Of The Debt featurette

Feature Commentary With Director John Madden And Producer Kris Thykier

Final Words:

This is a highly suspenseful film featuring first-rate acting on the part of the younger and the older cast. It raises the question of history as a matter of who tells it, and of the price of living under false pretenses. This is a story that the old Preacher in Jerusalem would have loved.***

 

 
 
 
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