The Debt (15)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain

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The Independent Culture

Remade from Israeli thriller Ha-Hov, this sombre story of revenge and guilt carries echoes of the Eichmann case.

A trio of Mossad agents are detailed to kidnap a fugitive Nazi (Jesper Christensen) – "the surgeon of Birkenau" – in mid-1960s East Berlin and bring him to Jerusalem for trial. Much of the drama occurs in the safe house where the three agents (Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Marton Csokas) hold their quarry in an atmosphere of escalating personal tension; when the plan goes awry a tough decision is made, which will return to haunt them 30 years later. The director John Madden handles the moods of suspicion and recrimination adroitly, until Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds as the trio's older incarnations are brought to a reckoning – and the film's dramatic credibility suffers a serious late collapse. A terrific first hour, all the same.