“The Debt” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

September 21, 2011

The Debt is a riveting thriller about Mossad secret agents David, Stefan, and Rachel, who are played—in scenes of 1966 and 1997—by two sets of actors.

In 1966, the three agents pursued in East Berlin a wanted Nazi war criminal known as the Surgeon of Birkenau. (His Holocaust horrors clearly evoke the memory of Dr. Joseph Mengele, “The Angel of Death.”) Three decades later, Rachael’s daughter has written a book about the mission, and the trio are revered as heroes. But are they indeed heroes?

Again and again, things are not as they appear in the deeply suspenseful drama (making it appealing to critical-thinking folk). Its reality shifts are worthy of a great magician’s stage show.

The older Rachel (engagingly played by famed actress Helen Mirren) seeks to protect her daughter from a long-festering untruth that now threatens to erupt with profound consequences. As reality shifts again, Rachel has second thoughts, but events soon overtake her.

Indeed, she is soon in the challenge of her life, as we moviegoers watch entranced. This thriller rises above most films of its genre as she redeems, finally, the truth, and pays, as it were, The Debt.


Rating: Three and a half wooden nickels (out of four)

Three and a half Nickels