Set in 1997, Helen Mirren stars as Rachel Singer - a highly renowned
Israeli hero and retired Mossad agent who teamed with Stephan Gold (Tom
Wilkinson) and David Peretz (Ciaran Hinds) to sneak into East Berlin in
1966 to find a Nazi war criminal and bring him to Israel to stand trial
for his horrific crimes. Rachel's daughter has written a book about the
whole, historic affair, but our heroine starts to think back to those
monumental days in East Berlin, and gives the audience a chance to see
what really happened.
Has the legend grown so large the truth can never be told?
What is the truth?
Will the truth destroy Stephan, David and Rachel?
is a movie too good for its horrible release date. Labor Day weekend is
the time when everyone makes their last run to the beach, or holds the
final summer barbecue. It's when stinkers like Shark Night and Apollo
18 get dumped by the respective (or, in this case, unrespectable)
studios who are too cowardly to show the movies to critics. Labor Day
weekend traditionally has one of the lowest box office takes of the
year (might even be lower than the hurricane ravaged weekend we saw
Yet, here is a tense, exciting, complicated-in-a-good-way thriller
featuring some of the best actors in the business, including one who is
just starting to show she will be making great movies for years to
Jessica Chastain, as the young Rachel Singer, is captivating in all of
the right ways. Showing us how Rachel is inexperienced, vulnerable,
torn in different directions by her two counterparts, and afraid of
what could happen to them all, Chastain draws the audience in, so we
react in shock when Rachel is in danger, and horror when she makes a
massive, major mistake (actually, several). This is one actress who is
believable, beautiful, compelling and talented. I hope she never has to
play the girlfriend in a stupid comedy or pose in her bikini to become
Plus, The Debt
isn't anywhere close to being exciting without Jesper Christensen as
The Nazi (sure, his character has a name, but everyone who sees the
movie will just call him The Nazi). He expresses the perfect
combination of feeling superior, having the capability of evil
deviousness and acting in a cowardly way as you would expect from a
Nazi. He gives the character a devilish joy as he taunts his captors
and plays mind games with them in an attempt to weasel his way out of
facing the music for his past and his crimes. Christensen is chilling
Sadly, the movie loses steam towards the end. I love watching Mirren as
Rachel trying to come to grips with the life she has led, and the
secret she has harbored for years, but our three person screenwriting
team takes the story off the deep end with a turn that is overwrought
and not befitting the rest of the movie.
Debt is rated R for some violence and language.