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Mainstream - The Debt

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Director: John Madden
Starring: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Ciar?n Hinds, Tom Wilkinson and Marton Csokas.


The Debt is one of the more original movies that has been released in recent years. It manages to deal with the Holocaust, the cold war, Israeli extra national security, secret police, deeply held family deception and personal moral crisis all in the space of two hours. It is a lot to fit into a one hundred and thirteen minute time frame but the flash back official story, personal story, contemporary story mix works well at getting it all to work for the audience.

Set in Israel and the Ukraine in 1997 The Debt requires of the viewer intelligence, attentiveness and empathy. While those things are frequently in short supply with younger audiences those who have live a little life and come to terms with the gray areas are the target audience. Though released during the summer months The Debt is not a summer block buster, action flick. The Debt is a deliberately unevenly paced movie with strong direction, superb acting and a script that manages to convince the audience that they know what is going to happen and then surprise them both with the expected and unexpected.

The pacing is key in this movie. The flashbacks are more quickly paced and taunt while the 1997 sequences are slower paced. This deliberate change of pace reflects the difference in age of the three Mossad agents involved in the story from their youth to their near retirement age in 1997. The story is not a rehash, vilification of the Nazi regime the Nazi component is a catalyst for the rest of the movie which is a refreshing change of pace. While the performance range from the gifted to the above average the real star of The Debt is the direction which is flawless. The Debt is well worth your time and may make it into your permanent DVD collection.

Denis Bernicky

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