Movie Review: THE DEBT

The trailer for THE DEBT makes it look like a generic action thriller. It is a suspenseful thriller but it's also the gripping story of three people who make a bargain to hide the truth and then spend the next thirty years living a lie.

The author of a book about the three main characters reads from her work: "Thirty years ago these three dared to confront an unimaginable evil. their assignment had been to capture the 'Surgeon of Birkenau,' a man whose sadistic experiments left thousands disfigured or dead."

That sets up the story of two men and a woman, Israeli agents who set out to kidnap a Nazi war criminal, still working as a doctor in  East Berlin twenty years after World War II.

THE DEBT cuts back and forth between East Berlin in 1960's and Tel Aviv in the 1990's, focusing on the three agents.
The older Rachel is played by the talented Helen Mirren. Jessica Chastain is both strong and vulnerable as the young Rachel.
It's a little harder to distinguish the male characters. Tom Wilkinson is Stephan who as a young man is played by Marton Csokas. Sam Worthington is the young David. Ciaran Hinds plays the older David. Both men are attracted to Rachel.
It's hard to talk about this movie without revealing too much. But suffice it to say, their mission isn't totally successful. And the three young agents agree to keep the truth of what happened to themselves.
For thirty years the trio lives with a painful secret they are determined to keep. Living a lie proves troublesome for all of them in many ways, and it is absolutely devastating for David.
the older David: "What if we could go back? would it be different?"
the older Rachel: "We can't go back."
"I knew this would happen," Rachel tells her ex husband, Stephan. "I knew we'd be punished. I knew we'd have to pay."

"If I could go back, Rachel, I would change it all," Stephan replies.

Ultimately, Rachel must try to make things right on her own.

THE DEBT is a powerful, intelligent, and exciting movie about how small accidents of timing can determine the entire course of a life, about how even something as righteous as a desire for justice can become ruinous.