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The Debt

241 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award winner Helen Mirren and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson star in The Debt, “a pulse-pounding and politically charged suspense thriller.” (Karen Durbin, Elle) In 1966, three Mossad agents were assigned to track down a feared Nazi war criminal hiding in East Berlin, a mission accomplished at great risk and personal cost – or was it? Thirty years later, the suspense builds as shocking news and surprising revelations compel retired team member Rachel Singer (Mirren) to take matters into her own hands. Co-starring Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain and Ciarán Hinds, it’s the film critics call “an intelligent thriller with superb performances.” (Claudia Puig, USA Today)

The Debt fuses physical and moral peril as it fuses past and present. In the contemporary half of the story, ex-Mossad agent Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren) tells and retells the story of how she and her fellow agents David Peretz (Ciarán Hinds, Rome) and Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom) captured and killed a Nazi war criminal. But in flashbacks to Cold War East Berlin, younger versions of Rachel, David, and Stephan (Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Marton Csokas, respectively) play out a significantly different series of events--and the gap between past and present takes its toll on all three in different (and in one case gut-wrenching) ways. Though Mirren, Hinds, and Wilkinson are a powerhouse trio, it's the Cold War scenes that take hold of the viewer. Jesper Christensen (as the Nazi) invests his conversations with Chastain and Worthington with silky insinuation and taunting contempt, building a devastating suspense. Fans accustomed to Worthington in his action-movie roles (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) will be surprised by the gentle vulnerability he shows here, but it's Chastain (The Tree of Life) who captures the movie's emotional core. She and Mirren perform a strange collaboration that can only happen in the movies, building a fierce and brittle woman out of their complementary performances. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • A Look Inside The Debt
  • Every Secret Has a Price: Helen Mirren in The Debt
  • The Berlin Affair: The Triangle at the Center of The Debt
  • Feature Commentary with Director John Madden and Producer Kris Thykier

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Sam Worthington, Helen Mirren
    • Directors: John Madden
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Miramax Films
    • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
    • Run Time: 114 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003Y5H4Y8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,174 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Debt" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    129 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Renfield on August 24, 2011
    Format: Blu-ray
    I saw an advance screening of The Debt tonight. I'll admit, it was a film I kept my eye on once I read about it on the IMDb message boards for Avatar some time ago, since Avatar was another film with Sam Worthngton. I remember it looking pretty interesting, however I'd not heard about it for some time after due to the delays. However during July, it had gotten advertised more, and I was ready to mark down August 31st as a "must see" date. However when I got a pass in an Alliance Films giveaway, I was excited.

    And thankfully this movie did not disappoint. The movie comes out next week, I'd say go see it.

    A remake of the 2007 Israeli flick of the same name, which I'll admit to having not seen, The Debt follows two of three secret agents who went on a mission to capture the surgeon of Birkneau, and bring him to Israel to expose him for the crimes he committed against Jewish humanity during WWII. His horrifying experiments have left thousands dead in brutal and gory ways. The gang had a plan set in place, and according to a new book written about the ordeal, the mission was completed. However, something about the mission has come back to haunt them... And futhermore, that very some 30 years later, thing has the two remaining agents fearing for what happens next in life!

    I don't want to give too much away, because believe me, the nervousness and suspense I felt throughout the movie is unmatched by any other film I saw this year. Believe me, this film is insanely well written. Matthew Vaughn of Kick-Ass and X-Men First Class fame wrote the script, and boy you can tell he did. His charm and genius are all over the film, in a different fashion than the two mentioned films, but his clever writing style is there.
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    47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Sean Curley on September 2, 2011
    Format: DVD
    Director John Madden had a smashing back-to-back period in 1997-1998 with "Mrs. Brown" and "Shakespeare in Love", but since then he has been unable to replicate that level of success. "The Debt", a remake of a 2007 Israeli thriller of the same name, is his best film since that period, and deserves a wider audience than it is likely to find in theatres after more than a year spent in limbo due to the difficulties of its distributor. Madden and his cast and crew deliver a very solid adult-oriented Cold War thriller. Spoilers follow.

    Our story takes place both in East Berlin in 1966 and Israel in 1997 (I would estimate the split to be perhaps 70/30 in the favour of 1966). It opens with a book launch celebrating the exploits of three Mossad agents in killing a Nazi war criminal: agents Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren), David Peretz (Ciaran Hinds) and Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson). We also see the mission in question, where the trio (played in 1966 by Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Martin Csokas) are tasked to abduct Dr. Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), the 'surgeon of Birkenau', from East Germany. It's not a great spoiler to say that this proves to be more difficult than originally anticipated.

    There are no Jason Bourne-style moves here: Madden's depiction of special operations is very realistic, similar to the writings of John le Carre. The atmosphere is well-handled, particularly the 1966 segments, which believably depict the decayed East Berlin. The film's 1966 segments are at their strongest as a character drama, in the middle/late stretch where the three spies and their captive are confined to an apartment and forced to interact for an extended period as their options slowly seem to shrink.
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    64 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 8, 2011
    Format: DVD
    The Debt (an American remake of a 2007 Israeli film of the same name) is best described as a story on two levels. On one level, it's a melodramatic espionage thriller that takes places in the 1960's, while on the other, it's a mystery that unfolds thirty years later, one that is centered around the events of the original espionage mission. The film cuts back and forth between these two story lines, with a different trio of actors portraying the three main characters in each story line.

    In 1966, a trio of Israeli Mossad agents - Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain), David Peretz (Sam Worthington) and Stefan Gold (Marton Csokas) - are sent behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin to kidnap an escaped Nazi war criminal, Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christiansen), the infamous "Surgeon of Birkenau". The mission goes awry when, after successfully capturing Vogel, the plan to smuggle him out of East Berlin is disrupted and they are forced to go into hiding while they try to make other arrangements. It is while he is being held prisoner that Vogel overpowers Rachel and almost escapes, leaving her face grievously scarred in the process. But Rachel manages to shoot Vogel before he gets away, killing him, and the trio return to Israel as heroes and their mission becomes a Mossad legend. Later, Rachel and Stefan marry, for reasons that are quite frankly never made clear and end up having a daughter, and David decides to leave.

    But in the current day (1997) story line, things are more complicated. Rachel (Helen Mirren) is being honored at a publication party for her daughter Sarah (Romi Aboulafia) who has written a book about her parents' legendary mission.
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