Movie Review: The Debt

In 1997, Rachel Singer(Helen Mirren) attends a promotional event of her daughter’s newly released book. Her daughter’s book chronicles the capture and killing of Nazi war criminal Vogel(Jesper Christensen) in East Berlin by three Mossad agents – Rachel Singer, David(Ciaran Hinds) and Stefan(Tom Wilkinson) – during 1966. When Vogel tries to escape, Rachel shoots him despite being wounded severely. After their return to Israel, the trio are venerated as state heroes.

Now, years later, Rachel is disturbed by the past. Her marriage to Stefan ended up in a divorce. Fortunately, she has given up drinking recently. David travels around the world for years and is back in Israel after many years. But he commits suicide one day by jumping in front of a truck. Stephan and Rachel meets to discuss David. After their conversation, Rachel leaves for an undisclosed destination.

During her journey, she reminisces the past where an young Rachel(Jessica Chastain) arrives at a safe house in East Berlin during the height of Cold War to team up with David(Sam Worthington) and Stefan(Marton Csokas). The rest of the story tells us what is the secret between the three protagonists and why they cannot find peace in their lives.

John Madden directs this interesting drama. The movie stands out because the director chooses to treat this movie as a drama and not a thriller. By treating this as a drama, the director brings out the emotional turmoil of the three protagonists which helps the viewer connect with them while raising suspense factor. The older protagonists are played by veteran actors. Hence it is a challenge to find the suitable actors playing the younger roles. The director succeeds here too. There is clever camerawork with extreme close ups during the scenes where Vogel is kept captive which brings out the various emotions of the actors.

Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington stands out in the cast. Helen Mirren’s Rachel is a state hero trying to forget her dark past and act normal. The character’s struggle is clearly evident from Helen’s performance. She is helpless mostly but also can be ruthless. Sam’s David is the idealist. He wants to the right thing. When he can’t do the right thing, he is crippled emotionally. By now, Sam has successfully portrayed characters torn between emotions. But still, he delivers an endearing performance.

This is recommended for people interested in serious cinema.

Language: English

Genre: Drama

Rating: ***

Tags: Movies,Helen Mirren,Sam Worthington,Jessica Chastain,Tom Wilkinson,John Madden,Drama


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