Saturday, July 21, 2012

28. The Debt (2010) *

 The Debt Poster

Based on the Israeli movie Ha Hov (2007), The Debt (2010) is a Hollywood adaptation by John Madden of an espionage thriller.  In 1965 three young mossad agents go undercover to East Berlin to apprehend the notorious Surgeon of Birkenau. Their mission is to capture the doctor (working as a gynecologist) and bring him to Israel to stand trial for his crimes.  Rachel Singer is sent to the doctor to undergo tests under the pretense that she cannot get pregnant.  She lives with her two fellow agents, David and Stefan.  The traumatic experience of the gynecological examinations lead her into the arms of Stefan.  However, it is David and Rachel that are in love. 

After capturing the Doctor their mission takes a turn for the worse.  The Doctor escapes and the three agents decide to return to Israel and tell the nation that they have killed their prisoner.  Justice is therefore seen to be done.  However, the truth (or lack thereof) haunts the three adults thirty years later. 

Hollywood being Hollywood there are a number of differences between the Israeli original and Madden's movie.  The Debt places far greater weight on the love triangle between the characters.  In The Debt the young Rachel becomes pregnant after sleeping with Stefan and they get married. This story line is absent in the Israeli film. 

Starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson, the film flits between East Berlin in 1965 and Tel Aviv in 1997. I was interested to find it in the ICC library but I wouldn't watch it again.

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