The Debt is an espionage thriller about three Mosad secret agents who were assigned to capture a Nazi war criminal. Decades later as elderly adults the three spies recall the mission that caused them to rise to fame. There are still ghosts from the past that haunt these spies in the present which for them is 1997. The film was directed by John Madden with a screenplay written by Mathew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, and Peter Straughan.
The three agents are played by six different actors. Three in the past and three in the present. Sadly, none of them make a memorable impression on screen. Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain portray the only female in the spy ensemble named Rachel Singer. Martin Csoaks and Tom Wikinson play Stephan Gold. Finally, Ciran Hinds and Sam Worthington portray David Peretz. The character who comes closest to being believable for me is Rachel Singer. Both in the past and the present Rachel works incredibly hard to not only complete her assigned mission but also to search for any shred of humanity left in herself and her enemy. Rachel in 1997 will stop at nothing to make sure that she lives her life honestly and with pride. Neither actresses give Rachel a very distinct personality but I was able to see shades of individuality within that character. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the male actors of this picture. Both sets of actors seem to follow the same personality type of the gruff misunderstood violent spy. Action occurs seldomly in this film which is fine with me but the scenes with action were too quick for my tastes.
The story of the film held my attention for two hours but I did not find myself emotionally invested in the espionage mission or the spies as characters. The film as a whole felt bland. I think something that would have helped the film succeed more would have been more background on each individual spy both in the past and the present. I think the director spent too much time building up to the film’s twist when he should have been giving the audience a slightly deeper understanding of why this mission was important to these people.
The Debt is a solid espionage film but not one that will be remembered as a work that defined the genre of spy movies. The Debt left a small impression but it entertained where it should have been more thought provoking.