Mike Dariano


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The Debt (movie review)

I've been riding a stretch of bad luck with movies. Looper had good pieces that didn't quite fit together, Skyfall had a wonderful second half but mucky first, and Homeland left me feeling emotionally empty afterwards. When my wife suggested we watch The Debt then, I was surprised.

During my weekly library visit I walk past the DVD collection to see if there is anything that might be interesting. I'll usually grab a few movies and if we watch one before they need to be returned it's odd. The Debt was one I grabbed this week because it combined a plot (spy movie) with a great actress (Helen Mirren). The movie was also set in Germany which I enjoyed as a backdrop in both The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and In the Garden of Beasts.

With most movies I don't like anything too complicated. Thematic elements (Time in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban being the best example) are a nice touch but if I need to be actively engaged in each scene of the movie like in Memento I'm probably not going to make it through. Unless it's all well done, and not to heady, and it keeps a nice pace. In those cases the movies can be quite good.

This was the case with The Debt. The movie has a number of jumps forward or backward in time but not too many and makes them clean and clear. The story is about an Israeli spy team that is sent into Germany to extract a doctor responsible for mass killings and torture. Each spy has their own demons and vulnerabilities to battle. Jessica Chastain who plays the younger version of Helen Mirren's character, has scenes that made me squirm like a shadow of her position in the movie.

The ending didn't provide the volume of closure that I wanted but it provided enough. The movie clocked in at just under two hours which my wife and I watched over the course of two nights. It was a good movie, better than many others I've seen this year.

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