Movie Review: The Debt (2010)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Drama
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Sarah Gold (Romi Aboulaifa) has written a book about her mother, Rachel Singer. (Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain)  Rachel was a Mossad agent in 1965, tasked to track down Dr. Vogel aka “The Surgeon of Berkenau.”  (Jesper Chirtiansen) She and her Mossad associates, David (Ciaran Hinds, Sam Worthington) and Stephen (Tom Wilkenson, Martin Csokas) find Vogel in East Berlin, where he is now a gynecologist.  Rachel pretends to be married to David, and they are having trouble conceiving a child.  The plan is to capture Vogel and send him off to be tried, but does the plan go off without a hitch?  And why does David kill himself 30 years later?

This is a taut, gripping drama, that keeps the viewer guessing at all times.  The bulk of the movie is expertly told through flashbacks which fill in much of the backstory. There are several interesting subplots within the main plot of the Nazi hunt. One is the love triangle between Rachel, David and Stephen.  The other is the psychological games Dr. Vogel plays with his captors, especially Rachel.  Vogel is trying desperately to escape and considers Rachel the weak link.  The acting is superb and most of the heavy listing is done by the younger actors.  Names like Mirren and Wilkenson will get you to watch the movie, but the younger actors’ performances will keep you riveted. Worthington and Csokas are excellent, but especially compelling is Jessica Chastain who has many emotionally draining scenes and handles them with subtlety.  Jesper Christiansen is quietly sinister, acting like the perfect gentleman, until he tries to escape.  The ending was a little too Hollywood for me, but acceptable.

The Debt.  You owe it to yourself to see it.

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