The Debt Reviews
The Debt is one of those movies you wish you could re-write yourself. that's because it comes so close to being an exceptional espionage thriller. The younger 1960's episodes are great. Provocative, thrilling, intense. The mission to kill the murderous doctor works really well. The flawed humanity of the 3 "debtors" verses the calculating coldheartedness of the ex-Nazi is enthralling. The love triangle and resulting pregnancy are perfect. Jessica Chastain is wonderful to watch. All four actors are great. But jump to the 1990's and the drama slows to a creaky halt. I like Helen Mirren but to see what becomes of these three young dynamic revolutionary figures is a huge let-down. The climax of watching two very old people wrestling on the floor to the death is too pathetic to watch, and makes the entire plot seem unintentionally absurd. Unfortunately, because of a three decade leap, The Debt essentially boils down to: It sucks to be old.
A five year jump after the botched assassination would have been sufficient, instead of thirty years, and it could have used the same actors. The movie would have been less disjointed and opened up more possibilities in the way of male rivalry, revenge and romance. And heat up to a more satisfying climax and conclusion.
Just eliminating most of the 1997 scenes would have made a better picture.
One of the few movies that a little information beforehand is a good thing because during the first 15 or so minutes I was more or less in the dark over what the hell was going on. Then eventually it became clear this is about nazi hunters during the 1960's in east Berlin leading to it settling down quite nicely and becoming generally quite a good watch. The cast is fairly strong, although Helen Mirren is given top billing despite her not really being on screen all that much, with her younger self (Jessica Chastain) getting more of the meat of the story. This though overall is sufficiently entertaining and certainly well made enough for most film fans to take a look.