Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

'The Debt' review: Well, it's better than "Red"

**1/2 (out of four)
 
Sure, in 1997 Rachel (Helen Mirren) celebrates the release of her daughter’s book about when Rachel and other Israeli agents took down a Nazi war criminal. However, let’s go to some 30-year-old flashbacks in Berlin (when Rachel is played by the excellent Jessica Chastain and her colleagues are Sam Worthington and Martin Csokas) to see if everything in the book checks out. History has a way of editing out certain facts, or so we’ve heard.
 
The buzz: Good to see 66-year-old Mirren keeping busy; this is her second release in five days (after “Brighton Rock”). Director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) may not be an obvious choice for a political thriller (remade from a 2007 Israeli film), but a greater concern is that starring in the biggest movie ever wasn’t enough to make a household name of Worthington (“Avatar,” “Terminator Salvation”), probably because he’s yet to deliver a true movie star performance.
 
The verdict: Well-crafted and tense but just not believable. That’s on the shoulders of a forced love triangle and a far-fetched ending that confuses the need to tell the truth for others’ sake with the act of covering your own ass and clearing your conscience. Worthington remains a blank slate, though even he can’t diffuse an exhilarating sequence in which the agents can, at one point, only operate for 14 seconds at a time (due to enemy surveillance) before having to stop. That’s your cue to giggle.
 
Did you know? To get close to their target, Rachel must pretend to be a patient as he works as, of all things, a gynecologist. That’s what you call commitment to an investigation.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Shrug-worthy new movies

    Shrug-worthy new movies

    'Tomorrowland,' 'Lambert & Stamp,' 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' 'Adult Beginners,' 'True Story,' 'Ex Machina,' 'Desert Dancer,' 'Furious 7,' '5 to 7,' 'Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,' 'Danny Collins,' 'The Gunman,' ''71,' 'Maps to the Stars,' 'Bluebird,' 'The DUFF,' 'Kingsman:...

  • Good movies to rent now

    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

  • Best new movies

    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'Welcome to Me,' 'Clouds of Sils Maria,' 'While We're Young,' 'Woman in Gold,' 'Insurgent,' 'It Follows,' 'The Hunting Ground,' 'Focus,' 'What We Do in the Shadows,' 4-star 'The Last Five Years,' 'McFarland, USA,' 'Girlhood,' 'Mommy,' 4-star...

  • Worst new movies

    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Hot Pursuit,' 'The D Train,' 'The Squeeze,' 'The Longest Ride,' 'Get Hard,' 'Serena,' 'Cinderella,' 'Run All Night,' 'The Lazarus Effect,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son,' 'The Boy Next...

  • Hot Hollywood interviews

    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Ethan Hawke, Aubrey Peeples, Nick Kroll, Michiel Huisman, Freida Pinto, Dan Savage, Joel McHale, Noah Baumbach, Veronica Roth, Margot Robbie, Bella Heathcote, Kevin Costner/Anthony Mackie, Sienna Miller, Emily Ratajkowski, David Oyelowo/Ava...

  • After dangerous season in 2014, Ocean City hoping for calm seas this summer

    After dangerous season in 2014, Ocean City hoping for calm seas this summer

    It's the time of year when the sounds of crickets, lawn mowers and ice cream truck jingles fill the air. But at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, summer is marked by the whir of medevac helicopters.

  • Shakeup in Baltimore mayor's criminal justice leadership

    Shakeup in Baltimore mayor's criminal justice leadership

    With Baltimore in the midst of one of its most violent stretches in years, a top criminal justice leader for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has left, marking the biggest shakeup in her administration since the recent rioting and unrest in the city.

  • Amid alarming spike in shootings and homicides, a walk for peace

    Amid alarming spike in shootings and homicides, a walk for peace

    As the number of homicides in Baltimore continued to climb in a violent start to the Memorial Day weekend, a group of residents marched Saturday from Sandtown-Winchester to City Hall to call for peace.

Comments
Loading

73°