Thursday, September 8, 2011

Movie Review - The Debt

Last weekend, Mrs. HillcrestBlogger and I were able to go out to the cinema and watch a picture, which, coupled with our dinner at local eatery The House, constituted a real-life date!  Lest you ask how our daughter, who we did not take with us, fared on her own in an empty house full of knives and poison, rest assured dear reader -- my wife's sister was with her, acting as a parent proxy, also known in these parts as a babysitter.

So after a well-above-average meal (paid with by a magic gift card), my wife and I sat down to enjoy a romantic movie, "The Debt," the title of which I assumed referred to some "debt" that a girl owes a guy over some first date silliness or some wacky miscommunication involving Hugh Grant and his charming accent.  Which takes place in hip Manhattan, with not-as-attractive-but-sarcastically-witty best friend.  With a heart of gold!  And, who knows, maybe Sandra Bullock is in it also?  No, I meant Reece Witherspoon!  Maybe?! Perhaps!  My wife picked out the movie so I went in fully expecting the complete Hollywood RomCom experience.


First sign something was amiss.  Helen Mirren.  Didn't she win an Oscar for some serious role?  I don't think she's ever been in a movie with Sandra Bullock.  OK, so this might not be so light-hearted.

Second sign.  Nazis.  Uh oh.

Yep, nothing says romance some good ol' Jewish Revenge!

Of course, the movie was actually quite good, especially the flashback scenes, which (without giving too much away) involved Mossad agents operating in mid-60's East Berlin.  The protagonist, played alternately by Jessica Chastain (when the character was younger) and Mirren (when the character was older) was compelling.  So was the Avatar guy (or should now be the Clash-of-the-Titans guy?*).  And the dude who looks a little like Javier Bardem.  He played tempermental quite well.  You know, they were all pretty good performances.  And the plot definitely had some suspense and was well played out.  So, I would recommend the movie as a theater-going experience if espionage and intrigue is your thing.  And I think it is a definite Netflix movie.  So there you go.

One minor quibble I'd have to note, however.  Frankly, the scar on Mirren's face was a little distracting.  Check that.  It was a force of nature.  It dominated the screen to the extent that it might qualify for this year's Academy Award for "Best Performance by a Body Part."  You can tell that the prosthetics guy or gal got way excited about "the scar" and was thinking, "How do I make the scar memorable?  It needs to speak to you!  It needs to jump off the screen!  And it shall!"  So, while the scar is a definite plot point, with a reason to be there, my advice to the lucky screenwriter for "The Debt Part II" is to let the lead character** visit a better plastic surgeon in the interim.  That is, if she survives at the end of this movie!!  Does she!!  I don't know!  Maybe?!  Da-dum-dummmm!!***

* Yes, that is Liam Neeson in the clip.  He's not in The Debt.  But the guy who played Perseus is, so that was close enough for me to put in the Kraken clip. 
**  I think her name was...Rachel?  Or maybe that was her spy name?  I definitely remember someone named Rachel.
***  I think she survives.  Maybe.

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