Runtime: 114 minutes
In Detroit-area theaters: today, August 31st
The trailer for The Debt made the movie look interesting, if not a bit vague. However, the movie ended up being one of the best action films in quite a while, apart from last week’s Colombiana release, probably due to its spectacular cast.
It has been 30 years since Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren, “Arthur”) returned from her mission to kill the Surgeon of Birkenau, who committed unspeakable acts on Jews during World War II. Her daughter (Romi Aboulafia, “Breaking and Entering”) has written a book about it, and they and her ex-husband, Stephan (Tom Wilkinson, “The Green Hornet”) are reunited at a party celebrating it. When something tragic happens to the third member of the mission, David (Ciarán Hinds, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), they must confront a secret that they have kept buried for the past 30 years, that may affect them now in the present-day.
In flashbacks, we see young Rachel (Jessica Chastain, “The Help”), an Israeli intelligence officer who joins young Stephan (Marton Csokas, “South Solitary”) and David (Sam Worthington, “Avatar”) as they seek to kidnap the Surgeon of Birkenau (Jesper Christensen, “A Family”) so that he can be put on trial for his crimes against humanity. Complications abound, however, and the three agents slowly begin to mentally deteriorate as they are each put on shifts to watch the Surgeon, so that he does not escape.
Definitely see this movie. It’s always tricky when there are two actors playing one person (i.e., Helen Mirren as older Rachel and Jessica Chastain as her younger self), but each pair nails it perfectly. The film is action-packed and tells an interesting story, although it does run a bit long (my only complaint about it), and there is a twist about midway through that audiences will not see coming. Chastain (fresh off The Help), Mirren, and occasionally Worthington steal the show here, and they interact well with the ensemble cast. The Debt is one of the better movies of 2011 so far, and it is one that should most certainly be seen in theaters.