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Mossad Nazi kidnapping thriller with Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson? This is as safe a deal for me as possible. But it starts out a bit irritating when we are shown the actual events of a 1960s mission to kidnap a wanted concentration camp doctor and take him to Israel for trial – while somehow it seems it is the mystery about these events that are the heart of the film. Later on, we learn why it has been a good idea to show us what happened, but that feeling of falseness never left me up until that turning point. As a thriller, the film has a bit more going than Spielberg’s Munich had some years ago, it has its one set piece to focus on (quite early in, actually) and does it very tightly (most interestingly through use of a subway train that gives the task force several 14 second bursts of activity). The script also includes all the other elements you would suspect in this film: the kidnapped war criminal xenophobe manipulating kidnappers by spreading secrets; doubts about the mission; balancing the greater good and the individual interest. The one question I always find interesting in the context of Mossad films is not tackled, though, namely whether it is maybe not very poor style (or a criminal offense) to go into other countries and kidnap people from there in the first place. Seems for Mossad script authors,  that is standard operating procedure, so they do not touch it.

Tom Wilkinson looks important as ever, Helen Mirren is very good as the woman who lives off her history for decades, and begins to believe that this may not be healthy, especially given the circumstances of that story.

It was not the most gripping of all thrillers, but solid and entertaining, with some nice glances at cold war Eastern Berlin. It came and went at the box office, so I suppose this format is not the most promising one these days, maybe because people do not understand international conflicts anymore, at least not those of the post-war period?

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1211195-debt/

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