Articles header

This Week's Film Reviews (Sep 2, 2011)

02 Sep 2011

Watch out for bad movies opening this week!  Two opening arrive without press screenings – APOLLO 18 and SHARK NIGHT 3D.  Be afraid, very afraid!

THE DEBT has an early Wed opening with Helen Mirren as a Mosaad agent with Israeli accent.  Is The Queen trying too hard?

THE DEBT (USA 2010) **
Directed by John Madden

THE DEBT is a remake of the Israeli film HA-HOV (never released in North America) which has the premise of bringing a Nazi criminal to justice.  The criminal in question is Dr. Vogel who has murdered and maimed hundreds of children in his medical experiments during World War II.

In 1966, Dr. Vogel (Jesper Christensen) is practising normal medicine in East Berlin.  The espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain from the recent TREE OF LIFE and THE HELP, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel  in East Berlin. Things went terribly wrong.  The trio kidnapped Dr. Vogel who eventually escaped.  They claimed he was shot by Rachel while escaping.  Now, after a book has been published by Rachel’s daughter, the real Dr. Vogel comes forth to say that he is still alive.  Agent Rachel is forced to pay the debt of the lie by having to kill him.

All this sounds a bit much in plot for the simple premise.  The film, for one shifts too often, uncomfortably between 1997 and 1966.  The script by 3 writers Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn and Peter Straughan has too many unnecessary distractions to the plot.  One might excuse the love relationship between Rachel and David and the enmity between David and Stephan for Rachel’s affections that piques interest into the film, but the Rachel and the daughter relationship, rekindling of past affairs and the Rachel’s claustrophobic outbursts could have been dispensed with.

The actors all speak with Israeli accents, something that makes one feel weird, after seeing Mirren, Worthington, Wilkinson and Hinds in countless other movies.

With the ultra violent and dramatic confrontations towards the ending of the film, THE DEBT loses all credibility as an authentic case in history, something that the film tries so hard to establish throughout.


Best Film Opening This Week:  nil (Stay home if you must!)

Best Film Playing: Attack the Block
Best Comedy: Bridesmaids
Best Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Best Documentary: Chasing Madoff
Best Foreign: Sarah’s Key (Elle S’appelait Sarah)

Avoid: Too many to list (Stay home if you have to!)

Gilbert’s Top TIFF Picks

My top 3 TIFF picks are:

The Skin I Live In



They have the common theme of paedophilia, not because I am a paedophile but for the reason that these films make the most intriguing and disturbing dramas.

My other 2 picks are:

There is Something Wrong About Kevin (troubled youth/troubled parents)


Le Havre (Kaurismaki is my favourite dead pan comedic director)

Search Site

Latest Articles

Apr 30, 2020

Finding Sally: HotDocs features Tamara Mariam Dawit’s intergenerational journey of remembrance and reckoning

in Movies by Meres J. Weche
Each year, the Hot Docs documentary festival — the largest in North America —… Read more >>
Feb 01, 2020

From LEGOs to Legacy: Ekow Nimako envisions Africa’s bright future

in Arts by Adele Ambrose
The AGA KHAN Museum presents Caravans of Gold Fragments in Time, from September… Read more >>
Nov 23, 2019

The Last Black Man in San Francisco — a tale of community

in Movies by Adele Ambrose
The Last Black Man in San Francisco marks the feature-length directorial debut… Read more >>
Oct 21, 2019

Illustrator Yasmeen Souffrant on designing your own path

in Careers & Workplace by Meres J. Weche
Montreal native and Haitian-Canadian, Yasmeen Souffrant, has loved drawing from… Read more >>
Oct 02, 2019

Finding agency through the lens

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
An interview with Sandrine Colard — curator of The Way She Looks photography… Read more >>

Latest on Instagram

Featured Events

No events found.

Join Our Mailing List

Advertise with us

Subscribe to podcast

Find a Job

AfroToronto.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you purchase an item featured on our site. These affiliate links, along with advertisements, support us and they come to no expense for you.

Media KitPrivacy Policy | Member Access

Copyright © 2005-2020 Culture Shox Media. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.