maandag 5 mei 2014

100 Movie Challenge 2014 - # 58: The Debt

Director: John Madden
Genre: Drama/ Thriller/ Action
Runtime: 114 minutes
Year: 2010
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Marton Csokas, Jesper Christensen

Description: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.

Review: “The Debt” is based on the Israeli movie “Ha-Hov” from 2007. Three Mossad agents try to capture a Nazi doctor. Their mission didn’t go according to plan. The decision they make will haunt them when they’re older. They are seen as heroes in their country, but do they really deserve that?
The heart of the film is formed by a flashback from 1965, where Rachel, Stephan and David are send to East Berlin. Their task is to find doctor Bernhardt, better known as the ‘surgeon of Birkenau’. This is also the strongest part of the film. Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas show us what they are made off. Especially Chastain is hard to overlook, her performance is very strong. That and the constant tension take the film to a higher level. There is one crucial scene we get to see a couple of times, which unravels the secret bit by bit.
The nerve wrecking middle part makes us expect much from the finale. Sadly the ending is a bit weak. If it weren’t for Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson, this movie would collapse in the end. But that’s the only critical note to this very intelligent thriller.
“The Debt” deals with some complicated moral questions, mostly on the psychological aspect. The characters are haunted by a lie from their past, which gave them a heroic status. All three characters deal with it differently. John Madden succeeded in making a good thriller, with great acting and a setting that gives you a claustrophobic feeling. Intelligent film.

Rating: 4/ 5

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