Friday, September 2, 2011

Movie Review: "The Debt"

Few movies are as perfectly cast as The Debt. It's just unreal how believable it is that Jessica Chastain is a young Helen Mirren, that Sam Worthington is a young Ciaran Hinds, and that Marton Csokas is a young Tom Wilkinson.

The Debt is a movie that takes place primarily in the past, as the older counterparts of three Israeli Mossad agents reflect on their secret mission in the early '60s trying to apprehend the Nazi Surgeon of Birkenau for war crimes committed against the Jewish nation. Majority of the action transpires in the past, while majority of the present is purely the characters reflecting on what happened when they were young. Seeing why these characters are reflecting (via flashbacks) is more satisfying than the moments where their older counterparts are simply reflecting, but the two wind up complimenting one another and forming a complete whole in the end, and the climax with the older Helen Mirren is as suspenseful as any of the moments with the young Jessica Chastain.

While Israeli accents often slip amongst the actors, in particular Sam Worthington, the performances of the cast are pure and emotionally authentic, while director John Madden infuses the scenes of the past with so much raw tension that The Debt often rivals Hitchcock classics, and then the scenes in the present are so marvelously played by the older actors conveying so much with simple looks. There is a richness to character in The Debt beyond the usual thrills of a thriller like this, and it is what makes The Debt so special and enjoyable. Even if the present is less exciting to watch than the past, the two work in tandem, with the past delivering the thrills and the present the emotion of the events.

I give The Debt an A!

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