TIFF ’10: Day 5 ~ The Debt

Helen Mirren plays  a Mossad agent on a mission to capture a Nazi war criminal, purported to have engaged in human experimentation at extermination camps. The story is told in flash backs and flash forwards, moving from the present to the mission in 1965. This technique is never confusing, as it sometimes can be. I love a director who is mindful of his audience. The three elder agents are played by Mirren, Ciaran Hinds and om Wilkinson.

Directed by the accomplished UK’s John Madden (who was present), it’s a taut political thriller which uniquely gives us a few versions of events before revealing the ‘true’ one.  The twists and tension last up to the very end, so that the audience was always engaged with the film. It  was well received.

The three agents become state heroes after their mission, but the truth can have several versions, and all is not what it seems. But one truth may be not only harmful to the agents, but to the reputation of the state of Israel as well.

Madden deftly mixes politics, both large scale and small scale. In one scene he has a hooded captor, ala Abu Graib. The parallels are striking. Worthwhile entertainment forthe thinking film viewer.

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