Directed by John Madden, who was responsible for the condescending The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), with a screen play part written my Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goodman, who had previously collaborated together on Stardust (2007) Kick Ass (2010) and X Men: First Class (2011) The Debt (2011) is based on an Israeli film of the same name. Both films centre on the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations better known as Mossad, an organization that carries out covert operations all over the world, who in the 1960’s captured a notorious Nazi doctor who it is alleged carried out human experimentation in Nazi concentration camps. When the prisoner escapes its reported that he had been killed and his body disposed of. A great deal of kudos is given to the team for their work but in the late 1990’s it’s discovered that the ‘Surgeon of Birkenau’ (played with sinister realism by Jasper Christensen) could still be alive.
Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds and Tom Wilkinson play the 1990’s version of the Mossad team far more convincingly that their 1965 counterparts Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas and a rather miscast Sam Worthington. This is a very straightforward thriller where everything is sign posted in advance and therefore lacks any real tension or suspense. Personally I referred Norman Jewison’s The Statement (2003) that covered a lot of the same ground and was far more entertaining.