Sober-minded spy movie with Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington
The Debt has languished on the distributor’s shelf for a year since screening in Toronto last September, betraying a lack of studio confidence in the commercial prospects for John Madden’s sober-minded remake of 2007 Israeli espionage thriller Ha-Hov.
The Debt takes place in two time periods; in 1997, Mossad agent Rachel (Helen Mirren) is attending the launch of a book about her exploits when her ex-husband, Stefan (Tom Wilkinson), brings news of the death of fellow agent David (Ciarán Hinds). The trio had been responsible to the elimination of Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen). Several lengthy flashbacks to 1966 depict this, with The Tree of Life’s Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas and Avatar’s Sam Worthington playing the youthful versions of the assassination squad.
A decent entry in the current vogue for spy films, The Debt is substantially more taut than Madden’s previous thriller, the barely released Elmore Leonard adaptation Killshot. With attractively spare East German locations and consistent performances from the cast, The Debt just about pays off as entertainment without saying anything particularly significant about the weighty issues it skirts around.
General release from Fri 30 Sep.