The Debt isn’t your average spy film
October 22, 2011 Leave a comment
The Debt has all the elements that make for an exciting espionage movie, and then some.
The story has two intertwined timelines: The first takes place in 1967 as we see three Mossad agents on a mission to capture Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), a Nazi war criminal, with the purpose of bringing him to trial in Israel. The second takes place in 1997 with the same agents, much older now, dealing with new found information that sees the case come back to life.
Because of the way the story is told, we get to see an evolution for the three main characters, Rachel (Jessica Chastain & Helen Mirren), David (Sam Worthington & Ciaran Hinds) and Stephan (Marton Csokas & Tom Wilkinson). I was particularly drawn to the storyline taking place in 1967 East Germany. I could feel the deep rooted anger and pain of the characters, especially David’s, as they sought to bring justice to a man who caused so much pain to Jewish families. I haven’t seen Worthington (Avatar) act prior to this movie, but he played his role with a quiet sadness. Out of the three, his character was the most distraught by Vogel, having lost his entire family in the Holocaust. You could feel the pain emanate off him, and it was great fodder for their charge to use against the group.
Jessica Chastain (The Help) was absolutely brilliant as young Rachel, and was a great example of a strong female lead actress. She shares many tension-filled scenes with Christensen, and once again through his brilliance, you can see her vulnerability as she’s captured by his charmful, manipulative ways. On top of the emotional scenes with Christensen, Chastain is also caught in a love triangle with the other two agents. The pain caused by this has a deep effect on the characters, especially the fragile David, who never seemed to recover from it, or the mission.
The older version of the characters, all played by great actors, isn’t the main focus of the story, but offers a way for the audience to see how the actions from a generation ago have affected, and are still affecting them today. While not as thrilling (for the most part), it acts as a way to tie the loose ends together in a smart way that makes you feel for what the burden they’ve carried over the past 30 years.
The Debt wasn’t anything like what the trailers portrayed it as, but in the end it was pleasant surprise. I give it a 4/5.