The Debt: a remake espionage story full of intrigue, suspense, mystery, action, and history that tantalizes and surprises beyond initial expectations.
Having its release date pushed back from December 29, 2010 to August 31, 2011 did not bode well for this film starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson, and more. Once a film’s date is pushed back from “Oscar season” to “Non-Oscar season” it always calls for reason to question. Thankfully, The Debt did not exclude itself from nomination consideration, it merely post-poned it for a year! Based on the 2007 thriller drama Israeli film of the same name, The Debt focuses on 3 Mossad secret agents during two different time periods (the 1960’s and the late 1990’s), and the secrecy of the one mission that ties them together through time. A dangerous mission that involves tracking down Nazi war criminal, the evil “Surgeon of Birkenau” played by Jesper Christiansen.
The film begins with a very captivating tone of secrecy that maintains itself through the entire movie. Right away the audience will understand that not everything will be explained in the usual “movie chronological order.” Causing confusion for some, this theme of the movie allows it to stay true to itself and in turn allows the performances in the movie to have greater merit. We, along with them, are discovering, learning, and understanding what has transpired and still is to come.
One of the greatest strengths of this film that I have not seen done so well in quite some time is the dual casting of the same characters who share so much of the screen time. About half of the movie takes place in the 60’s while the other half takes place in the 90’s, and the actors in each respective time period definitely impress in their character continuity!
- Rachel Singer: Jessica Chastain (1960s)/Helen Mirren (1990s)
- Stephan Gold: Marton Csokas (1960s)/ Tom Wilkinson (1990s)
- David Peretz: Sam Worthington (1960s)/Ciarán Hinds (1990s)
Excellently portrayed. And as far as Sam Worthington is concerned. Forget he ever was in Avatar and Clash of the Titans! He’s got some acting chops after all!
The star of the film, not surprisingly though, is Helen Mirren, who studied Hebrew, Jewish customs, and Holocaust writings in order to prepare for this role, executes her part perfectly! Once again, Dame Mirren, “Bravo” I say to thee!
On a few other notes of the film, I did not expect as many exciting scenes as were in it. Nor did I expect to see a greater balance of character development/action in this Focus Feature. I, sadly, was disappointed with the last Focus Features I went to see. Click HERE. So, needless to say I needed a win from Focus Features, and The Debt paid off! The cinematography, believability and angst of the characters, the historical elements, and shrouds of mystery/danger all add to the great cast, story, and direction to make The Debt a win!
Directed by Academy Award Nominee John Madden, with screenplay written by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) this espionage thriller is a definite enjoyment, far beyond the likes of other hopefuls such as George Clooney’s The American.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
–TheSp1der’s Score: 3 out of 5 stars for “The Debt”
up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”