The Debt: Review of the movie starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Chastain

For thriller fans there are three good reasons to see The Debt:

  1. Helen Mirren
  2. A trio of hot young Mossad agents
  3. Eerie, sixties-era east Berlin

Unfortunately, that’s about it. The whole of this movie is not any greater than the sum of those parts.

The Debt, which is remake of the 2007 Israeli movie Ha-Hov, suffers from a weak screenplay and complete lack of plot twists. Basically, you can guess what’s going to happen from the trailer.

This is no Munich, which you most definitely should see if you like hot Mossad agents, western Europe in the seventies and action-packed thrillers.

It’s difficult to disclose any more of the Debt’s script failings without spoilers, so stop here if you intend to see the movie, which, in spite of everything, you probably should if you’re interested  enough in Helen Mirren, hot Mossad agents and communist-era east Berlin enough to forgive the plot and character development failings of the screenplay.

******* spoiler territory **********

The main problem with this movie was that there was very little if any motivation for the agents to lie about their supposed failure. They had just one chance to get on the subway and the screw-up wasn’t their fault. There was no back-up plan and they were essentially abandoned by their superiors.

Stephane’s argument that they would be seen as failures didn’t ring true and it was  strange that David just agreed to go along with it. As for Rachel’s later metamorphosis into a full-time liar, that also defied belief.

I’m going to try to track down Ha-Hov to see if the original movie had the same flaws and I’ll add an update once I’ve seen it.

Meanwhile, comment away.


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