Gritty dramatic thriller

The Debt Alliance/Miramax Rating: 14A 114 minutes

The Debt is a remake of a 2007 Israeli film about a 1960s Mossad (Israel’s intelligence agency) mission in Berlin.

Three agents, played by Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas, are out to kidnap a Nazi doctor wanted for barbaric medical experiments on captive Jews during the Holocaust. They manage to capture him, but when they try to bring him back to Israel for trial, the mission goes wrong.

Scenes from the mission are contrasted with the trio over 30 years later when the three agents, now played by Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds and Tom Wilkinson, are still living with some of the deceptions from that time. A further complication involves the daughter of the Mirren and Wilkinson characters whom has written a book about the event.

So much of this film works so well it’s sad to report it doesn’t end well. It’s a mostly intelligent film with lots of suspense and drama as you gradually learn what really happened in Berlin. Wonderful cast, excellent acting, but they are not served well by the script; the story seems to lose its way. It would be interesting to compare it to the original film, Ha-Hov.

Chastain is especially good in this and has some of the best scenes. She is having a great summer, playing Brad Pitt’s wife in The Tree of Life and the socially unacceptable girl in The Help, and she’s excellent in all of them. Csokas, a New Zealander, scores well here too.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.