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August 29, 2011


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Anyway, this movie is pretty solid plus Chastain tries to kill a guy with her bare feet, which is kind of awesome. It has that gray, wan, widescreen cold-movie look and an awesome mid-movie suspense scene, plus Mirren kicks ass in it, and as Wells went on a TEAR about and walked out of the movie (!) over, nobody remotely looks like the "older" version of themselves, a particularly glaring problem in a movie where all the participants are pretty familiar actors.

Of course, the "other" way to solve this problem lands you where it landed Roland Joffe in this not-dissimilar to this "There Be Dragons"-- with Wes Bentley in a fat suit and prosthetics playing Dougray Scott's 70-year-old dad.

This September is the most exciting month of movies in maybe CINEMA HISTORY. Where do you get that it's a "month of meh"? There's like four masterpieces coming out every single weekend.


I agree with a lot of what you noted in your review. The film's music is very overdone and self-serious, and overall the movie is very serious without ever saying anything profound or insightful (and the movie contributes nothing new in my opinion to discourse on the Holocaust and Israeli identity). You were also correct in your assessment of the 'love triangle': Chastain's character comes across as foolish and selfish when her motivations and issues are probably far more complicated than the writers cared to detail. Which leads me to something that was on my mind throughout the entire film: this is a movie with basically four characters and only one of them, the Worthington/Hinds role, is sympathetic, heroic, and likable. This might come across as overly malicious, but I didn't find the Mirren and Wilkinson characters to be particularly more likable than the evil Nazi doctor they were hunting down (and that says a lot about how poorly those two characters are written and presented). "The Debt" is self-serious, self-righteous, and only a decent espionage film for the first half of the film.

Mr. Peel

I was kind of hoping THE DEBT was going to continue the Labor Day tradition, begun last year with THE AMERICAN, of pulling a fast one by selling an art film as a crackling, action-packed thriller. This case doesn't sound quite so extreme (and I loved THE AMERICAN) but I'll probably see THE DEBT anyway.

Is it better than Madden's KILLSHOT? Did anyone other than me bother to see KILLSHOT?


I liked KILLSHOT, but somehow in my head it kind of conflates with Lee Daniels' SHADOWBOXER... I think The Debt is better than Killshot overall, if only because it plays like a real movie, semi-epic and singular of purpose, whereas Killshot in its DTV form just seemed like a hack-job of a longer, better movie; The Lane/Jane stuff was fine, but the brief runtime (especially from a blowhard Miramaxer than Madden) and choppy pacing gave away that Killshot was intended as some work of "art" that at some point turned into some Thursday Night Prime level junker; That said, the pairing of ROURKE and JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT was fairly electric... Was Rosario Dawson in there somewhere too? And how does a punk kid like JGL know how to even act opposite a god like Rourke? Would any of US even DARE speak to LORD MICKEY ROURKE? Probably not, but the punk-ass kid from 30 ROCK knows how to approach him as an equal.

Anyway, THE DEBT is stronger and more focused and EPIC, whereas KILLSHIT feels like a remake of Burt Reynolds' MALONE.

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