Dame Helen Mirren has swapped comic Russell Brand’s antics for serious action as secret agent, Rachel Singer. An English remake of an Israeli espionage thriller, the Debt flits between the 1960s when three Mossad agents capture the Surgeon of Birkenau, one of Hitler’s henchmen, and 1997, when Singer, celebrated for the capture, finds herself plunged back into action. Tree of Life’s Jessica Chastain stars as the young Singer and impresses with her Krav Maga (Israeli martial art) ability.
Mirren may put in a powerful performance as a guarded character keeping up appearances yet haunted by secrets, but it is Chastain’s intensely claustrophobic scenes with the Surgeon (Jesper Christensen) that truly steal the show, especially as Christensen is a perfect balance of intriguing and creepy.
The Debt could have been a highly-charged psychological thriller, but unfortunately, sentimental inclusions, such as the half-hearted love triangle between the agents, and the scenes with Singer’s daughter, crowd out and dull the central plot. Yes, it’s entertaining enough for two hours, but quite frankly, it could have been better.