THE DEBT

A debt isn't merely a financial obligation. It gnaws at the psyche and your emotional well being until it is paid or resolved in some meaningful way. Resolving THE DEBT is what drives the three main characters in John Madden's great new thriller. Based on an Israeli film, three Mossad agents are tasked with tracking and capturing a Nazi war criminal. But the capture goes sideways and the “Surgeon of Birkenau” is killed. Their story becomes legend, the stuff every young Israeli aspires to. But their story is a lie and the film flashes back and forth between 1965 and 1997 to show us what really happened and how the supposedly wiser characters deal with the revelation that the criminal may still be alive. This film belongs to two actresses, Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain playing the older and younger Rachel Singer. It also features an excellent supporting cast including Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jesper Christensen and Sam Worthington (who shows some ability here that has been hidden by being blue, a gladiator or a terminator). Two issues. A unnecessarily graphic suicide scene early in the movie, and an age-defying fight scene at the end (I'm not this spry and I'm about 40-50 years younger than these characters!). Madden owes a DEBT to the original filmmakers and to Mirren and Chastain. The audience owes a DEBT to them all for an enjoyable two hours of entertainment. — Alan Yudman

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