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The Debt (2007)

Gila Almagor Yehezkel Lazarov , Alexander Peleg Edgar Selge , Assaf Bernstein  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gila Almagor Yehezkel Lazarov, Alexander Peleg Edgar Selge
  • Directors: Assaf Bernstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00699G65E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,421 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

1964: three young Mossad agents capture the Surgeon of Birkenau, a monstrous Nazi war criminal. While being brought to public trial, the Surgeon manages to escape. Faced with failure in their mission, the agents report their captive committed suicide and return to Israel as national heroes. 1997: more than thirty years later, the supposedly dead Surgeon resurfaces in the Ukraine, determined to confess his crimes. Rachel Brener, one of the three Mossad agents, must now track down and silence the Surgeon in order to protect the life and reputation she has built upon her fabricated past.

Customer Reviews

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
"The Debt" (original 2007 release from Israel; 100 min.) brings the story of 3 Mossad agents in the mid-60s hunting down (fictitious) Nazi criminal Dieter Vogel a/k/a the "Surgeon of Birkenau" who is now living in Berlin and working as a doctor in private practice. In fact they manage to abduct and capture Vogel. However before they are able to transport/smuggle Vogel out of Berlin into Israel, Vogel manages to escape. The 3 Mossag agents now are faced with a terrible embarrasment for both themselves and Israel. They decide to cover up what has happened, simply saying that Vogel was killed in a struggle. The agents then return to Israel in triumph. That is where the movie really takes off, examining the legacy/debt of living with such a lie. Then one day 30 years later, there is a rumor that a man claiming to be Surgeon of Birkenau is alive and well in Ukraine. I will not spoil the rest of the plot, you'll just have to see it for yourself.

Maybe you saw the 2011 Hollywood remake starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain, maybe not. I saw the Hollywood remake last year, and when I compare the two, the original movie shines and is simply better. Why you may ask? Several reasons: one, there is a huge plot point that is radically different in the two movies, which I simply cannot understand why Hollywood felt compelled to change. Two, the Hollywood remake focues way too much on the love triangle (or not) between the female and the 2 male Mossad agents, which is absent in the original movie. As a result of the latter, the original movie is riveting and tense from start to finish, whereas the Hollywood movie has to have the occasional romantic interlude. I'm not saying that the Hollywood remake is bad per so, it is not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The remake is good, but nothing beats the original!! March 28, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even though the film is in Israeli subtitles, you are quickly drawn into the story of the Mossad agents and their pact. The plot weaves the past and the present in such a way you don't even realize that the actors are not speaking English!! And the fight scene at the end must be seen to be believed. Helen Mirren and Co. did a nice job on the remake, but it doesn't touch the original.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 STARS) Original Israeli Thriller of a 2011 Remake December 28, 2012
[Not to be confused with "The Debt," a 2011 John Madden-directed remake.]

"The Debt" (2007) is an Israeli thriller drama about three Mossad operatives Rachel, Zvi and Ehud on a secret mission to capture a Nazi doctor in East Berlin. They return to their country with their mission accomplished, and become sort of heroes. Thirty years later, they find a strange newspaper article about the doctor they had exterminated. Rachel travels to Kiev to do what she should do, but what did really happen to the three agents thirty years ago? And what will a retired agent Rachel do?

The film's story goes back and forth between two timelines, 1964 and 1994, and events are traced from the viewpoint of agent Rachel, young and old. The contrast between the young and inexperienced Rachel (Neta Garty) and the experienced and tired one (Gila Almagor) is nicely done. Director Assaf Bernstein's film is less about action and mystery than characters, especially Rachel, and how they confront with each other and their past, and it works.

However, the intriguing premise of "The Debt" is somewhat undermined by several events that seem implausible. Also, as a thriller it lacks convincing detail (in the 1994 part, in particular) and as a drama the interaction between the "Surgeon" and Rachel (and other agents) is certainly tense, but all too brief. Considering the unanimously strong performances from the cast, the 1964 sequence could have been more intense with someone like Roman Polanski (I'm talking about "Death and the Maiden").

"The Debt" is a spy thriller with more focus on characters and their psychology. It is fine as such, but more attention to what they do would have been helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very well done!!!, January 3, 2014
well written script and excellent acting. I Particularly liked how the female Character struggle with obvious Fear initially but was the one in the end who got the "job" done. sad ending.
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