The Debt

Rated R (MPAA) 113 min. 2011

John Madden’s remake of a 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov about three Mossad agents who botch the kidnapping of a German war criminal is a case study in thriller construction. We meet the agents (Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds) in the late-90s, 30 years after their high-risk mission to lift a vicious doctor (Jesper Christensen) from his East Berlin hiding place. They’ve lied about the results of that operation, and the decades of deception have left them with psychological scars. These bookend chapters are excellent, but it’s the middle section, with its depiction of the kidnapping and Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas and Sam Worthington playing younger versions of the agents, that really hums with tension. Everyone’s in top form and everything works, with plot, character and theme feeding each other in near-perfect symbiosis. –Matt Semansky

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan

Producer: Matthew Vaughn, Kris Thykier, Eitan Evan and Eduardo Rossoff

Cast: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Jesper Christensen, Romi Aboulafia, Adar Beck and Nitzan Sharron


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