The Debt (2010)

Rated PG-13. Our Ratings: V-4 ;L -1 ; S/N –1. Running time: 1 hour 53 min.

There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there
are righteous people who are treated according to the
conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people
who are treated according to the conduct of the righ-
teous. I said that this also is vanity. So I commend en-
joyment, for there is nothing better for people under
the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves,
for this will go with them in their toil through the days
of life that God gives them under the sun.
When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the
business that is done on earth, how one’s eyes see sleep
neither day nor night, then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun. However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find it out; even though those who are wise claim to know, they cannot find it out.
Ecclesiastes 8:14-17

Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
Luke 12:2-3

Rachel Singer and her ex-husband Stefan are Mossad agents.

© 2010 Focus Features

Helen Mirren again rises to her usual dramatic height as Rachel Singer in this remake of the Israeli film Ha-Hov about a team of three Mossad agents who years before had been sent to East Berlin to kidnap and bring back to Israel for trial Nazi doctor Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen) who had performed gruesome experiments on prisoners during the Holocaust. The film jumps back and forth between the Fifties and the Sixties and the Nineties, so viewers have to pay close attention to follow the plot twists.

The dangerous plan involves Rachel (as a young woman played by Jessica Chastain) posing as a patient to seek the help of Vogel, now working as gynecoligist. They manage to kidnap him, but their escape plan goes awry, so they hole up in an apartment where the arrogant doctor taunts them with his anti-Semitic jibes. The two men Stefan and David (Sam Worthington and Martin Csokas, with Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds playing the older pair) soon find themselves in their treatment of the bound-up Vogel acting in the same brutal way as the Nazis had their captors, their hatred boiling over and their patience exhausted as they search for a new means of escaping.

After their return to Israel where they report that Rachel had shot Vogel when he was trying to escape, the three are regarded as heroes. But they remain haunted by their past and a dark secret that eats away at them. Rachel had been drawn to one of the men but had married the other. She gave birth to a daughter, who, along with her fellow countrymen, had so admired her mother that she wrote a book about her. Then comes news, first that David had committed suicide, and second, a report that might unravel the story, now enshrined in a book, of their mission to Berlin 31 years earlier. Rachel sets out for a former Soviet republic to set matters straight.

This is a highly suspenseful film featuring first-rate acting on the part of the younger and the older cast. It raises the question of history as a matter of who tells it, and of the price of living under false pretenses. This is a story that the old Preacher in Jerusalem would have loved.

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