Written by / 9/11/2011 / No comments / , , , , , ,

THE DEBT

title: THE DEBT
year: 2011
cast: Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain
rating: ***1/2

An entertaining thriller dealing with the past and present (although the present is 1997, but you get the idea) delivers the goods, mostly when it centers in 1965: where three Mossad Secret Agents plan to kidnap a former Nazi doctor and bring him to Israel to stand trial.

The chemistry between Jessica Chastain as Rachel, Sam Worthington as David, and Marton Csokas as Stephen... holing up for a human heist... are some of the best moments, really putting you inside the bleak, contained atmosphere of an East Germany tenement.

The agent’s personalities: the gorgeous Rachel can kick ass, David is brooding and calculating, and Stephen's an artistic charmer, give each a color and style of their own. And although they fail at delivering the kidnapped Doctor to a departing train, they decide to keep him around till another possible chance.

Here’s where things get personal, as the tied-up heavy, played with goading villainy by Jesper Christenson, gets into the agent’s heads: all having lost relatives in the War. This pivotal mainline is successful enough to make one forget it’s merely a flashback... returning to Helen Mirren as the older Rachel, whose daughter has written a book about their supposed slaying of the infamous Nazi.

The second half fails to deliver like the back-story. The characters, being older, have lost their intensity and, in dealing with a burdensome guilt, do nothing but sulk towards a conclusion. But once our aged protagonist gets one last assignment, all envelopes into a worthy thriller far surpassing the dull title.
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