Review: The Debt

THE SETUP: A trio of Mossad secret agents assigned to capture a Nazi war-criminal must deal with the consequences of that mission, 40 years later and the very bad little secret they’ve had to live with. And, if that secret were ever revealed, would pretty much make life suck.

THE THOUGHTS: I hadn’t seen an intense, quiet spy movie in a while so this came as a really nice surprise. But it wasn’t the story that sold this movie, though that is one of the best parts of it…it’s the performances from the always reliable Helen Mirren and the breakout talent of Jessica Chastain. Both playing the same woman Rachael, at different points in her life. Chastain was amazing as a woman dealing with her first major spy mission and the emotional weight of the situations she was put in. Mirren…well she’s Helen F’ing Mirren so every time she’s on screen you can’t take your eyes off her. The rest of the cast almost seemed to be in supporting roles to the actresses. Tom Wilkinson, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas were just there to push Rachael’s story forward and I’d wished I’d gotten more from them…or cared more about them. The story itself had equally quiet and intense moments right up until the very satisfying kickass conclusion. That ending and the exchanges with the war criminal are the story high points. Sorry, if you’re looking for a summer blockbuster, that ship has sailed. This is a smart, well-told thriller that reinforced why I’m a Helen Mirren fan.

THE DEBT Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. The performances of Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain make this one to catch. Thankfully, they’re part of a well paced spy movie that keeps you engaged right until the very end.

Random Recommendations
Shakespeare in Love (1998) – Director John Madden has another movie I’d recommend under his belt. Winner of that year’s Academy Award for best picture, this is a brilliantly written comedy of Shakespeare’s time as a struggling playwright. Joseph Fiennes, Gwenyth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush and yes, even Ben Affleck are fantastic and remind me to watch this again.

Director’s Cut of Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Got some time to kill? Check out Ridley Scott’s version of this epic flick…and make sure it’s his version and not the edited down one. Yes it’s long but it’s gorgeous, amazingly shot, stock full of kickass fight scenes, some great actors…and Orlando Bloom. OK, I may have lost you with that last bit but this story of Jerusalem durng the crusades is worth a watch.

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