“THE DEBT” My rating: C+ (Opening wide Aug. 31)
114 minutes | MPAA rating: R
It’s got star power out the wazoo, yet “The Debt” feels slight and perfunctory.
It certainly never achieves the depths it is so clearly aiming for; perhaps this remake of a hit Israeli thriller requires an Israeli audience to truly appreciate the morally conflicted situation it presents.
John Madden’s film takes place in two decades separated by 30 years. In the present (actually the mid-1990’s) we have the publication of a book about one of Mossad’s most celebrated operations: the 1966 capture and elimination of German war criminal Dieter Vogel, the notorious “Surgeon of Birkenau” who conducted fiendish “medical” experiments on Jewish prisoners.
The agents who undertook that mission — Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren), her husband Stephan Gold (Tom Wilkinson) and David Peretz (Ciaran Hinds) — long have been regarded as national heroes.
But the book’s publication opens old wounds, for these three know their story is based on a lie.
Okay, that’s a good premise.