17 October 2011

Capsule Review: The Debt


The Debt
2011, 113mins, 15
Director: John Madden
Writer (S): Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan
Cast includes: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christiansen
UK Release Date: 30th Sepotember 2011

“The Debt” is two thirds of a brilliant film, John Madden’s intriguing espionage yarn only falling apart during its bloated and limping conclusion. A brilliantly acted piece of work, the movie manages some hugely suspenseful sequences, the filmmakers orchestrating a skilfully plotted and tautly handled maze of potboiler theatrics. However despite some decent characterization, “The Debt” doesn’t remain engaging for its full duration, Madden fumbling the finale through a preposterously generic and bloated wrap-up. It’s a genuine pity.

The intricate plot cuts efficiently between two different timeframes, the first seeing a young group of Mossad agents attempting to bring justice upon a Nazi war criminal, the second set in 1997 a study of the repercussions the mission has had on them in later life. “The Debt” assumes a twisty narrative style, which along with a few punchy action sequences and a consistent aura of tension keep the opening two acts extremely watchable. Unfortunately the baggy finale lets too much gas out of the bag, the picture flaccidly stumbling toward a climax, rather than making good on the promise indicated by earlier segments. A solid thriller then, but perhaps not the genre gem it could have been.

A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2011


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