Overview of The Debt
“The Debt” revolves around a story set in 1997, which revisits a single espionage mission in 1965-1966 carried out by three Mossad agents. The three are Rachel Singer (Helen Mirren/Jessica Chastain), Stefan (Tom Wilkinson/Marton Csokas) and David (Ciarán Hinds/Sam Worthington). The story begins in the 'present', and then proceeds to show viewers the detail of what happened during 1965-1966. The ending of the mission reveals a twist and the movie picks up the story of the characters again some 40 years later in 1997.
The film tiptoes on a fine line between offence and story-telling, especially around certain events which allegedly happened in the Holocaust. For that reason, it is a film I would not recommend to under-18s, as it contains strong adult themes.
The story is set in the 1960s, where Israel is widely known to have used its Mossad intelligence agency to bring certain members of the Nazi party to justice. The film aims to portray fiction as fact by interlacing the storyline with historical truth (and half-truths). This interlacing of truth and fiction produces a believable and watertight storyline. Strong racial themes run throughout the entire movie and some scenes, whilst portraying the best acting by members of the cast were uncomfortable to watch.
Overall, the fast-paced movie teaches us that blind revenge is a very dangerous thing to be involved in. The Bible teaches us that revenge, ultimately, belongs to the Lord. In Matthew 5:38-40, the Bible encourages followers of Christ to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile. Although the external actions of these Bible verses are pronounced, what Jesus was referring to was the matters of the heart. When faced with taking matters into your own hands, the Bible teaches us to love our enemies; not only because it is like heaping burning coals on their head (Romans 12:20) but because it is what sets us apart from non-believers (Matthew 5:46-47).
The characters in the movie do exactly the opposite, taking revenge into their own hands, and in the process land themselves in complicated circumstances. These tight situations cause them to think irrationally as the cycle of revenge and hate takes a life of its own.
Without giving too much away, a key part of the story involves a pact; a pact which is based on a lie. It took 30 years for that lie to unravel itself from a cleverly spun web of deceit. 30 years of guilt and constantly looking over their shoulders, in the fear of being found out. This took a significant toll on the lives of the characters in the story. The characters, and their loved ones, were consumed by the lie and sought their own interest above everything else. While this lasted for 30 years, the truth finally caught up and “The Debt” had to be repaid.
Again, I must reiterate that the movie, in my opinion, is not suitable for under-18s and needs to be seen in the light of history and all that has happened prior to the 1960s. Final verdict, “The Debt” is a fast-paced and exciting movie with a stellar performance by the cast.