Reviewed by: Julia Webster
deception / lying
Mossad secret agents
spies in the Bible
murder in the Bible
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
hunting down Nazi war criminals
fertility doctor and pregnancy
ex husband ex wife relationship
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
mother daughter relationship
loss of friend
Helen Mirren … Rachel Singer
Jessica Chastain … Young Rachel
Tom Wilkinson … Stephan Gold
Marton Csokas … Young Stephan
Ciarán Hinds … David Peretz
Sam Worthington … Young David
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|Director:||John Madden—“Miss Sloane” (2016), “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011), “Proof” (2005), “Shakespeare in Love” (1998)|
Mairi Bett … co-producer
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This line from John Madden’s latest film, “The Debt,” provides a perfect summary of the film. “The Debt” is an excellent remake of a 2007 Israeli film.
Proverbs 6:1-19 well describes what is about to happen in the film:
“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Three young Israeli Mossad agents undertake to capture a Nazi war criminal, and their mission goes terribly awry. The trio must pursue the enemy within Soviet-occupied East Berlin, which leads to the initial failure of the kidnapping. After fleeing the Soviets, they take the Nazi into captivity, with the three agents locked together in an apartment to guard him. Unfortunately, agents Stephan, David, and Rachel, will not learn the wisdom of Romans 12:17-19:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Over time, Stephan, David, and Rachel begin to feel as locked up as their prisoner. The Nazi, who had been an evil doctor during the war, is able to manipulate his captors both mentally and physically and eventually…
What transpires is a series of deception and lies that have a devastating effect on all three of the young agents, continuing throughout their lives. As the line between good and evil becomes blurred, we remember that…
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).
The story is told through a series of flashbacks and unlike many movies of this type, the flashbacks are easy to follow, keeping the deep political intrigue from becoming too difficult to understand. The story-telling is excellent, taking us from the political intrigue and brutal battles into a love triangle, which, though equally intense, is often shown subtly through looks and simple hand movements.
The acting by the ensemble cast is excellent, with the two actresses who play Rachel (Jessica Chastain as the young Rachel, and Helen Mirren as the older Rachel) being the most compelling. Marton Csokas portrays the young Stephan, showing his changes from team player to aggressive leader.
Interestingly, the only curse word noted in the film, “f**,” is well-used to show the fear and anger that Stephan feels, as he is the only one who uses the word and then only during times of great duress.
The film’s R-rating is well-earned, as is often the case in stories concerning the Nazi holocaust. Deception is the main topic of the film, and it is shown through great suspense and graphic violence. Sexuality is moderate, with a few scenes that are somewhat offensive, including gynecological exams (not shown in detail, but still very uncomfortable to watch) and a couple of sexual encounters.
Viewers need to keep in mind that the violence is often graphic, including brutal, sometimes sadistic, fighting. The battles include stabbing with knives and syringes, slashing with pieces of broken glass, strangling, and many body blows. A horrifying suicide is also shown.
“The Debt” is worth seeing, because of its political intrigue and suspense, as well as its devastating love triangle, and how lies can change our lives.
The older Stephan says toward the end of the film, “Truth is luxury…” Thankfully, though, truth is readily available to all people through God’s Word (John 17:17) and faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus tells us if we hold to His teaching, the truth will set us free (John 8:30-31). Our three protagonists learn a hard lesson about truth.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.