Movie Review: The Debt

The Debt is a spy thriller with a slow pace and some unexpected plot twists that had me bored at the beginning, and then confused for most of the movie.

The Surgeon of Birkenau, a Nazi doctor who performed unspeakable procedures on human subjects during the Nazi regime, is tracked down in East Germany in 1965 by the Israeli intelligence organization Mossad. Three Mossad agents are infiltrated into East Berlin to find the doctor, catch him, smuggle him across the border to West Germany from where he will be taken to Israel to stand trial. Things go very wrong, and the three agents end up weaving an intricate web of lies that remains the official story for more than 30 years.

There are a few problems with this film. There are three young Mossad agents, Rachel, Stefan and David in 1965, and then there are three old Mossad agents, played by completely different actors. While Rachel’s identity is clear throughout the film, I didn’t realize who old and young Stefan and David were until some way through the story. It didn’t help that the movie kept flashing back and forth, sometimes vigorously within short sequences when the characters were reminiscing to themselves.

At the end, the plot got so complicated, I could not keep track of all the pieces, and when the credits started rolling I was still figuring things out. And, I must admit, there are still some blind spots I do not understand even as I write this.

The Debt is an entertaining thriller about justice, revenge, good and evil. Perhaps I am not doing it enough justice. Perhaps this is the kind of movie you need to watch two times to really get. But it was too slow for a second time.

Rating: **

One thought on “Movie Review: The Debt

  1. Eric Petrie

    Evidence of fine writing: the first sentence so turns me off that I don’t even want to read the rest of the review, the movie must be so bad.

    That’s what this sentence did to me: “a spy thriller with a slow pace and some unexpected plot twists that had me bored at the beginning, and then confused for most of the movie.”

    Norbie, it’s time to start a movie review program, maybe on Youtube, and earn some real dollars on the side, while running your own business.

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