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Vengeance comes at a price
The Debt (DVD)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
The Debt (DVD)
Advantages: Great cast, good story
Disadvantages: Love interest not needed
Stuck for a film to watch the other night, we settled on The Debt. I wasn't particular enthralled about the idea of watching it, but only because the short synopsis on Sky made it sound quite dull, but I gave in and agreed as it starred Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington, and figured it would be worth a watch.
Starting in Tel Aviv in 1997, we are introduced to Rachel Singer (Mirren) at the book launch of her daughter who has written about her mother's involvement in the capture of 'The Surgeon of Birkenau' along with two other agents. The 'Surgeon' was (although is fictional) a Nazi war criminal who was accused of horrifically experimenting on babies and Jews during the war. While working undercover the agents become close as Rachel (the younger Rachel played by Jessica Chastain), must pretend to be married to David Peretz (Sam Worthington in the 60's, Ciarán Hinds in 1997). At great personal risk to herself, Rachel gets close to the Surgeon who is working as a gynaecologist in a clinic, in order that they can create a plan to capture him.
I don't really want to explain anymore of the synopsis as I feel by doing so would give away quite a lot of the film, but the film runs partly in the 60's and partly in 1997, but there is a reason for this, and it does carry the film and allow for tension to mount.
The 'tell all' book that Rachel's daughter releases is the main part of the film, and there is obviously more to it which is evident from the very beginning as Rachel comes across as troubled and moody. Mirren was the right woman for the film, as were all the cast. They worked together well and portrayed the story as believable (I actually googled 'The Surgeon of Birkenau' after watching the film as I half expected it to be based on a real person, but it wasn't).
I found the storyline bitty and while not overly complex it didn't seem to flow correctly, which I think may be portrayed in my break down of the synopsis. In places it was difficult to follow and while the storyline wasn't particularly difficult to follow, I did in places not understand what was happening. Action is there at times, but it is more of a suspense film than anything. The difficult situations that the trio put themselves in, in order to try and capture the surgeon is definitely tense, and this carries right through to the end.
There are parts of the film which came as a surprise, although one particular event which relates to one of the three characters was unnecessary.
It does ask some serious questions, and did get me thinking about various issues relating to the war, but it doesn't overly bombard you with politics. It didn't particularly need the love part that seems to some as a standard for nearly every film ever made, which drives me slightly insane! I did find this part of the film quite annoying, and perhaps acted somewhat as a buffer dragging out the 113 minute long film.
A remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, I can't comment on any comparison as I haven't seen the original.
Summary: 4 stars