Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Debt

Based on the trailers that seemed to be running forever, this film delivers on it's promise. While it may strain credibility at times, it's still a pretty good espionage thriller with more than one good twist. Cutting back and forth in time, director John Madden, introduces characters and plot points like puzzle pieces that eventually come together to form a sobering picture.

The film stars Helene Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds as retired Mossad agents, who 30 years ago undertook a mission to capture a Nazi war criminal posing as a doctor in East Berlin. In the flashbacks of 60's East Berlin, the agents are played by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington. Ms. Chastain has seemingly come out of nowhere to be the "it" girl of the moment. She is currently in three films with at least three more before year end. The good news is rather than be overexposed, she is showing terrific range and maturity in this variety of roles and she should be enjoying a strong career for years to come. As young Rachel Singer in "The Debt", she is terrific.

The rest of the cast all do credible work even when the plot steers into the improbable and there is a fair amount of suspense to keep the audience engaged. I was reminded at times of films like "Marathon Man" and "The Boys From Brazil" (both higher quality but sharing similar themes). If you are looking for something with a little more substance at the end of the summer, this will be a good start before the avalanche of "Oscar" bait that begins in the next few weeks.

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