The Debt (2010) - Drama, Thriller

Hohum Score



In 1965, three Mossad Agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the Agents share come back to haunt them.

IMDB: 6.8
Director: John Madden
Stars: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington
Length: 113 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 37 out of 182 found boring (20.32%)

One-line Reviews (209)

There is a richness to character in The Debt beyond the usual thrills of a thriller like this, and it is what makes The Debt so special and enjoyable.

It was this thought that through the rest of the film out of balance by making it feel weak and pointless.

It's a very intense story, starting in 1997 with celebrated Mossad agent Rachel learning of the death of a fellow agent.

This was a truly enjoyable thriller that had so much potential until the very end.

Considering the film has a title about as captivating as your average e- mail spam folder, it's turns out to be pleasingly engaging thriller.

A plodding plot, dull dialogue and cardboard characters made this a boring evening.

The ending is predictable and feels like it's been tagged on to give the story a happier ending.

unexpected and violent.

If you were looking for a thrilling and immersing story of bravery based on the synopsis of the film, sadly you won't find it here.


This allowed the story to flow into the final path taken which at 30 years later in the story is unexpected.

A bit dated but gripping and, at its heart, a Biblical theme: Vengeance is mine, says the state of Israel.

I think, it is normal, since the characters are not young anymore, they try to live a normal life at a slower pace, the priorities are different.

Some riveting moments but the casting of principal characters leads to confusion...

This is an EXCELLENT movie love the twists and turns..I enjoy movies that don't need to rely on set design; although, it is (set wardrobe location) is excellent too, stunning in an unobtrusive way.

Engaging Espionage Thriller with Disappointing Conclusion .

Chastain, whom I'm not familiar with, is stellar here; we bond with Rachel instantly, and she's an intriguing character.

My only complaint is that the story often goes back from one time to the other in a heartbeat and sometimes then the story may be a little confusing.

The absolute best thing about this movie is that it's completely unpredictable.

With so many flashbacks going on, it does make the movie hard to follow at points.

If you are looking for drama, intrigue, action, and a suspenseful thriller, go see this movie..

Great gripping movie .

The movie does raise a compelling question.

The storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat, and at the end I just kept thinking "Please don't be over, please don't be over".

She and Mirren invisibly merge into a single intriguing body of willpower and discomfort.

Pretty much a standard spy thriller uninspired and uninspiring.

Apart from the climax mess, the rest is so compelling made more by Jessica Chastain.

This time Mr. Madden brought us a pretentious BORE!

Anyhow the movie was good, it had a nice storyline, it was suspenseful and definitely entertaining.

The first hour was slow stupid and BORING.

Eichmann, on the other hand, is fascinating since he hardly fits the mold of the typical sadistic Nazi—rather, he resembled the ordinary German you might casually bump into randomly on the street—an individual one would hardly suspect as the chief facilitator of the Final Solution.

But apart from that, it is such a dramatic and gripping movie.

So to mention immediately, I was not totally convinced by everything about this film, but that said enjoyed it and would recommend it as one well worth seeing.

A clever intriguing spine-tingling story that leaves the viewer with one big question – 'And the point is?

It would also have been nice if there was more depth to the mission and made the mission a bit more entertaining and interesting to watch.

"The Debt" is a thriller evocative of days past and movie like "Three Days Of The Condor", "Marathon Man" etc. John Madden has crafted a deftly directed and written film whose strengths derive from the characters and the story, the tension and the build-up in emotions and high plot points evolve naturally, not forced by ridiculous shortcuts, mindless action and meaningless cinematic devices (such as an overload of special effects, an intrusive soundtrack or overly evocative imagery).

There was enough space within the story to accomplish this as there are scenes which are too drawn out.

Probably fell in love with Jessica Chastain watching this movie, brilliant script and unpredictable ending, great thriller

THE DEBT has the advantage of being partly (50-50) set in the late 90s and it packs two of its most exciting scenes into the opening five minutes, which certainly aids concentration.

Suspenseful Fun.

In fact, it left you wondering, questioning, the twist was unexpected, and I am glad, despite the lingering tears in my eyes as I write this, that I saw it.

I won't spoil it for you here, but it is both slow and unbelievable.

Despite its obsolete storytelling style, shabby dialogue, thin-paper characters, plodding plot and a very poor casting choice that proves distracting due to the time-shifting narrative, The Debt could have been a decent thriller if it had only focused on its central story, and hadn't stretched itself trying to be more than it was and more than it was capable of.

Had the present day plot line been anywhere near as compelling, this would have been a standout film; as it is, it's a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

As a political statement about the horrors of the holocaust, its one of the most compelling I've seen in such an offering in quite a few years.

While some other reviewers and critics have criticised this aspect of the film, and the ending, I found it most enjoyable.

RATING : Don't waste your time (Rating System: "See it in theaters", "Wait for the instant download", "Don't waste your time")SOME SPOILERSRachel Singer (Helen Mirren) is a retired Israeli spy with a secret.

The rest of the cast is underused for the most part and the film feels a bit rushed in plot development (despite a somewhat slow pace and small amount of action and thrills).

Here the pace of the movie slows down considerably as the drama soon turns into a dragged out sequence of repetitive shots that wear thin on one's patience.

All of the performances were top notch and the story was beautiful and intense.

That leads us to Act III, the thrilling conclusion of this spy yarn.

Instead she sees a doctor with the criminal past several times in a drab clinic.

And, oh yeah, this movie was fairly boring.

Also, spy movies deserve more engaging characters.

I was bored.

It's fascinating to see actors imitate other actors and I think it's cool to see how different the characters were 30 years apart.

Taut, tense, compelling, and a little bloody, The Debt tells the story of three Mossad agents who infiltrate East Germany in 1965 to capture an escaped Nazi doctor who experimented and killed hundreds at the Birkenau concentration camp during World War II.

Fantastic Spy Flick, that dragged on just a little too much .

Awful ridiculous boring .

Very enjoyable movie, a good spy thriller that brings together fiction and non-fiction very well.

Dull dialogue (3 idiots wrote this crap) and directing.

The Debt's first hour is quite good with adept flow from 1997 to 1966 and the truly suspenseful scenes between Chastain and Christensen.

Great acting also, and a stunning Jessica Chastain!

I almost left two or three times but finally, after what seemed like forever, there was a twist which led eventually to a rather mundane ending.

It seemed overly heavy and super serious and more educational than entertaining.

An intense movie.

For a movie like this to be successful, the director has to get the viewers to feel the Nazi horrors and therefore the compelling reason for the agents to do this mission.


In my opinion, this movie has a ho-hum quality to it.

This movie is worth watching, but it is slow.

Having said that, I did find this tale quite gripping with an unexpected outcome.

Overall the movie was good and well worth watching.

The first half will keep you on the edge of your seat, but by the end you will have a somewhat empty feeling.

Nazi hunting usually makes for an exciting movie.

The ending as well was a little dragged out for me and there were a few times I was ready for the film to be over with, despite me being a big Helen Mirren fan.

)Because this movie was so slow moving, I actually saved the second half for the following night.

The Debt weaves together many layers, (as any movie worth watching should do!

To say too much would add spoilers but the plot moves in unexpected directions and adds levels of intrigue, remorse and complicity which transcends a normal "genre" movie.

However, I eventually grew bored of the repetitive information and began wondering how long it would be until the movie either ended or moved on.

This was a very tragic, thoughtful film with the embodiment of the mortal coil and well worth watching and thinking about.

So, for a divided story, slow motion action, and unbelievable climax, I recommend you "don't waste your time.

My main complaint about the movie, besides the extremely slow start, is the 3 Israeli Captors.

I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the film and some of the clever twists in the plot showed me that my premature assumptions (about what I was initially thinking was a poor choice by the director & writers) were completely way out.

Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman have written some excellent scripts in "Kick-Ass" and "X-Men: First Class," and despite the various challenges and a few painfully slow moments (some of which you could argue had a point to being that way), they and Peter Straughan manage a narrative with evenly spread tension points.

Watch it for the new star, Jessica Chastain and some thrilling spy action sans fancy gadgets and over-the-top styling .

It does get slow in parts and predictable in others.

Their story is told in flashback and the first half of it is absolutely riveting.

So it was confusing to audience members -- it wasn't to me because I had read all about this confusion ahead of time.

It was the kind of movie that you are on the edge of your seat the entire time!

intellectual and riveting .

I went in looking for a slow plodding movie, instead it was well paces and enjoyable.

Like some other reviewers said, it was moving along too slow.

Dull .

The parts that were supposed to be suspenseful we're so drawn out I forgot I was watching a movie.

+Chastain & Mirren +Spy thriller that is good +Vaughn's script -Seen the story before -Bit Predictable 7.4/10

Gripping drama.

The real driving force of this movie is the performances, the performances actually makes this movie riveting.

The setting and tone that Madden creates is appropriately quiet and dreary, giving us a sense of the isolation that these characters are facing as they stalk their prey.

The main flaw is how it dragged out the story way longer than it had to be.

smart, well acted and suspenseful .

A debt of gratitude for an enjoyable movie .

Fun & Entertaining .

I found Sam Worthington neither compelling as a character, nor credible as an Israeli.

And Christensen is a gripping monster as Vogel, by turns groveling and vile.

Sometimes during the movie I was wondering if I was watching more of an entertaining documentary instead of a fictional movie about the cold-war and Isarel's secret activities during those times.

This is a well-done, intriguing movie.

The superb cast, quality acting, intriguing questions, and suspense spy actions are all nicely integrated into this movie.

The film moves slow in many scenes.

Shaky-cam, ultra-closeups and jagged, quick cuts are the sign of a director who says, "I don't know to create tension in a scene, I know I'm a buffoon when it comes to staging an action sequence, but maybe if I make it unwatchable, if they have to divert their eyes, nobody will notice.

But it's a good spy thriller that is also engaging and has a good amount of character development.

Unfortunately the dragged out plot and slow pace during some parts of the movie are weaknesses the cast should have worked on, as well as better balancing in the elderly actors.

The Debt was quite an entertaining dramatic thriller .

Overall this movie is suspenseful enough to keep you interested for the 114 minute run time – although I found a few parts to be somewhat slow.

The rest of it is really quite compelling and watchable.

The best aspect of this movie is the acting, the suspenseful editing and the pacing of the film.

The structure - where flashbacks are placed, and how this serves the storytelling - is an intriguing part of the movie.

In addition, the relationship between Chastain and the other two agents, intense Sam Worthington (young Hinds) and charismatic Marton Csokas (young Wilkinson), didn't ring true.

Even still the performances of the movie and the story itself makes it interesting and entertaining enough.

At last, a movie that is as intelligent as it is entertaining .

Quite entertaining throughout especially those scenes with Ms. Chastain and that doctor when talking before she...

Well, the movie might have got a bit higher on my side of the review for relating to riveting historical events like Auschwitz, which always gets me into the research mode about what and how it happened.

I should say that the movie is occasionally a little confusing due to the shifting back and forth between the past and present.

However it lacks that required edge to elevate it into spellbinding territory, largely due to the uninspiring way it's shot and presented.

I mean I liked that, but according to the climate in the story I anticipated a good ending, even it was cliché I would have not cared.

There aren't many movies that comes along like this, and more's the pity that audiences have been conditioned to expect simpler stories with more predictable outcomes.

It is too slow, over acted and over edited.

This though overall is sufficiently entertaining and certainly well made enough for most film fans to take a look.

FINAL VERDICT: It's pretty good, but a little slow in the beginning.

It trivializes it with a ridiculous fictional story of self-absorbed, small people, when there must be abundant truly engaging real-life stories available from that era of larger than life heroes.

For this reason, this is an intense movie which grabs and keeps the audience's attention and is worth watching.

The pressing plot, compelling performances and abrupt fits of brutality inundate it with an crushing level of suspense.

I'm not going to get crazy with details because there are plenty of thorough reviews already written, so here's the quick breakdown: Script plot holes; slow and boring in parts; fighting scenes which felt forced or off; extreme annoyance with "trained" agents who are in bed/in love with each immediately and making poor decisions at almost every turn which botch the mission; failure to create sympathetic characters; let down ending.

In an age where spy thrillers are rarely made, let alone even being good, this movie brings back some of the old flavor of espionage and still manages to be entertaining.

It is worth seeing, some might really really enjoy it but be warned that the pace is a little slow and some of the performances a little dry.

I found the pace too slow at times which dragged down the story just a little bit.

It's a well made espionage thriller, with some exciting scenes, and an intelligent script with some nice surprises.

In the first 20 minutes of the movie, we see a gala event where a proud daughter presents a book about her clearly uneasy mother, a flashback showing an intriguing fight with a man getting killed and a woman hurt, and a very spectacular suicide.

A movie that challenges your intellect to me is always far more rewarding than so many of the other straight, boring narratives that are on offer.

Although the mission was exciting and suspense filled, the dramatic change in pace during the second half of the flashback really bored me.

The present day events in the second half of the film are also very engaging.

If you like real type spy stories, this this is an enjoyable one.

Their apartment is drab.

)IMHO, either of these stories would have made a riveting movie.

To me, anyway, the dreary and crappy doctor's clinic and street scenes of what was supposed to be East Berlin felt real (was Hungary and UK studios though).

"The Debt" - An engrossing, morally complex thriller .

The suspenseful hunt and chase is how the mission is accomplished.

This flick is an extremely gripping thriller featuring many turns, twists and reversals in a perfectly recreated Cold War setting.

If you like spy thrillers you may like this one, it is beautifully filmed though a tad on the slow side with a story which isn't as strong as the acting.

From Snoozer to Twister to Twisted .

Thirty years later their story and their secrets are ready to destroy them if nothing happens so, they have to do something about it.

The absurd romantic angle grows tedious and we never become truly invested in the antagonist, who lacks a back story and is more a caricature, than a fleshed out human being.

Seeing why these characters are reflecting (via flashbacks) is more satisfying than the moments where their older counterparts are simply reflecting, but the two wind up complimenting one another and forming a complete whole in the end, and the climax with the older Helen Mirren is as suspenseful as any of the moments with the young Jessica Chastain.

An especially intense way is to kill someone and have that be that.

An entertaining movie, gripping story, acting and atmosphere, a good way to revive the spy thriller genre which over the years has been cheapened with mindless action popcorn types or pretentious bulls*it movies passing themselves as some-kind of new type of intelligent flicks...

But recent developments and an unexpected suicide by David leave Stefan and Rachel in the same position they were 30 years ago.

The Debt is entertaining and powerful and is wonderfully made and with a great cast.

The movie is recommended to those fond of intense intelligence stories and admirers of great European (mostly British) actors.

Unfortunately, the director opts for a steady pace, which at times, is too slow and verges on boring.

The sappy sentimentality of Mossad agents sympathizing with a Nazi butcher was also too boring and unbelievable to me.

Predictable Eichmann-like abduction tale turned on its head .

Whatever your course of life, finding the truth and being part of the truth is more fun, more exciting, no matter the cost.

As for what it is is a very decent film that will be entertaining even despite the story's flaws.

This Engaging Film has two Major Problems.

Gripping and tense.

Reviewed April 2012An intriguing spy thriller about three Mossad agents about their mission 30 years ago and how its consequences are affecting them now.

The stars did a wonderful job of making the movie entertaining and the story had you on the edge of my seat a few times.

Not really an enjoyable movie since the subject matter is sad (Nazi), however definitely worth watching.

This is a gripping tale, intelligently told and cleverly constructed.

Director John Madden, best known for his Oscar winning movie Shakespeare in Love, crafts an intriguing film that although predictable at times keeps you engaged.

The director threw in a few suspenseful twists and turns.

The storytelling is superbly thrilling and engaging.

The hostage subplot thirty years ago is very intense, particularly the part where the doctor verbally provokes David.

Again, the movie starts off slow, and does take sometime to pick up.

There are few cinematic events as enjoyable as watching a sociopath get what he most definitely deserves.

If all you are looking for is some decent acting and good suspenseful editing, and you don't care how ridiculous or silly the storyline is, then this is a movie for you.

The Debt, a remake of a 2007 Israeli movie of the same name, is a suspenseful espionage thriller about a team of Israeli Mossad agents as they attempt to track down "the Surgeon of Birkenau".

The entire star cast acted well but it was Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain who stole the show with their riveting performances.

Sometimes this kind of crosscutting works in a film, but here it is somewhat confusing because older David (Ciaran Hinds) and older Stephen (Tom Wilkinson) look nothing like their younger counterparts, so you have to sort of play 'who's who' for a while until it sorts itself out.

Very Engaging.

OVERALL: 10/10Pros: The Debt is an action packed, unbearably suspenseful film that is remarkably well written, stylishly shot and ferociously thrilling, a film not to be missed.

While the botched escape at the train station hardly seemed true to life, at least it was suspenseful.

It was quite confusing during the exposition of a film to have figure out who's who.

The film starts with a confusing series of action sequences posing unanswered questions, which I found irritating.

In sum, it was a taut, gripping thriller.

Other than the script problems, it must be said that the acting is all on a high level, and the story is particularly engaging during the earlier 1967 sequences.

The film was high octane, ferociously suspenseful thrill ride that had me on the edge of my seat from the first frame.

It's excruciatingly slow for long periods.

Bland .

"The Debt" begins with snippets of events in the present, and these events are very confusing.

Unpredictable and Suspenseful Thriller .

I have just finished viewing this fantastic film and, having enjoyed it so much, I am moved to add my positive comments to the many others on this site.

After you are lulled in to thinking you know where it is going the acting strengthens and the plot starts twisting.

Watch it for the new star, Jessica Chastain and some thrilling spy action sans fancy gadgets and over-the-top styling.

The Debt is a very engaging film that is tense, taut, and just a very good thriller.

I found The Debt a gripping and very interesting spy-thriller.

The cast is really good, even Sam Worthington who I thought of as a boring actor in the past stands out.

The film is well shot, generally well acted, paced and it is entertaining, if you can stick with it.

If this was based on some true account – then I could understand the bland ending – I mean – that is real life.

I enjoyed it, a good story and it doesn't turn out like I expected it to.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop with the slowness of the movie.

It made their first early decision to be quite pointless and in the end more damaging to others than for the main characters.

The plot of THE DEBT is rather enigmatic and a bit confusing because of the technique of cutting back and forth between past and present.

It's probably because the young leads are so good that the older ones come off so dull and unappealing (even Mirren), and frankly the storyline in the present day (well, the late 90s, their present day) seems trite and silly next to the danger of East Berlin and an ex-Nazi gynecologist.

It was a bit slow starting according to my companion, and some of the initial flashbacks left one a little confused, and then once the story started when the Mossad agents were in Germany to track down and bring the "Surgeon of Birkenau" to trial, I was so glad it was a reminder film.

The movie is also perhaps a bit too long and somewhat predictable once you get about 40 minutes in.

In a summer where the movies have been filled with action hero movies, crude humor comedies, and predictable romantic comedies, one film has shown promise of breaking the mold.

Eerily, the young Stephen's character played by Marton Csokas has this Russell Crowe/Kevin Spacy impersonation going on unintentionally which is both somewhat distracting but fascinating.

A very slow, ponderous and frustrating movie.

And the ending is dull.