Saturday, September 10, 2011

REVIEW: The Debt (2010)

The Debt (2010). Dir: John Madden. Starring: Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson. IMDB.

So, my friend and I went out the other night hoping to see the new documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011), but it was sold out so we settled for The Debt, a ho-hum thriller about a trio of Mossad agents who botched a very important job in 1960s East Berlin and have been living a lie ever since.

The trio- Rachel, Stephan and David- are played by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciarán Hinds in the present tense, and Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas and Sam Worthington in the past. They are thrown together in post-war East Berlin and charged with rounding up a Nazi doctor so that he can stand trial in Israel. Things don't go as planned but they decide to cover up their failure and live out their lives as heroes. David, though, has a crisis of conscience, and things fall apart from there.

I like thrillers, and I basically enjoyed this movie. Mirren and Chastain were both great; the guys were sort of lackluster although Hinds can do no wrong in my book. The film sets up a tepid love triangle where Rachel is sleeping with one of her associates while in love with the other but neither of the younger male actors are really up to being romantic leads and the chemistry goes nowhere. On the other hand, I loved every scene Mirren shared with Hinds; the movie could have been greatly improved with lots more Ciarán. Jesper Christensen, who played the Nazi doctor, stole every scene he was in.

So, it was just kind of okay for me. Entertaining, yes, but I'd rent rather than see this one in the theater if I were you.

The lesson? Never underestimate the appeal of the Yiddish Mark Twain, and buy tickets in advance.

Rating: RENT

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I did not receive free or promotional tickets for this screening.


  1. Sorry to hear that this one isn't as good as expected. I think Helen Mirren is an excellent actress, but plan on taking your advice and will wait until it comes out on DVD. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. It's a shame this movie wasn't as good as it could have been, but I'll probably give it a go when it comes out on DVD. I love Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson.

  3. I hate uneven movies that have actors I love. Always a disappointment. I thouhgt that this one looked interesting. Until reading your review :)