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Matthew Vaughn

'The Debt': Getting in a little over its head?

'The Debt': Getting in a little over its head?

Even though World War II ended in 1945, it has never ended at the movies. Based on a 2007 Israeli film, "The Debt" is a new English-language film about the decades-long hunt for a Nazi doctor who conducted horrible procedures at a concentration camp.

The serious subject matter ensures that attention will be paid to "The Debt." It generally merits that attention, but director John Madden's slickly packaged thriller often feels superficial rather than profound.

Although important ethical issues are raised, much of the cinematic time is spent jumping around between the various places and times that factor into the story. The espionage-oriented...