The Debt Comes Up Short
Helen Mirren stars in John Madden thriller
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 2, 2011 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, tells the story of a trio of Mossad agents whose adventure in Cold War-era Berlin has consequences far into the future. It could have been a thought-provoking thriller, but it doesn’t quite live up to its promise:

  • What begins as a “finely observed study of desire under duress gives way to a breathless and pedestrian globe-trotting thriller,” writes AO Scott in the New York Times. As it “grows more complex and suspenseful, it also becomes more literal, losing some of its dramatic intensity.”

  • “The movie's feverish hyper-plotting and grandiloquent overacting deplete all efforts at gravitas,” writes Ella Taylor at NPR.
  • In the New York Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman agrees: “Despite some early whispers of awards potential, The Debt is nothing more than a gritty thriller with a highbrow pedigree.”
  • Betsy Sharkey is impressed, however. “Bristling with dangers both corporeal and cerebral, The Debt is a superbly crafted espionage thriller packed with Israeli-Nazi score settling,” she writes in the Los Angeles Times.