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Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 117 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Debt is the powerful story of Rachel Singer, a former Mossad agent who endeavored to capture and bring to trial a notorious Nazi war criminal—the Surgeon of Birkenau—in a secret Israeli mission that ended with his death on the streets of East Berlin. Now, 30 years later, a man claiming to be the doctor has surfaced, and Rachel must go back to Eastern Europe to uncover the truth. Overwhelmed by haunting memories of her younger self and her two fellow agents, the still-celebrated heroine must relive the trauma of those events and confront the debt she has incurred. (Miramax Films) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 30, 2011
    90
    Bristling with dangers both corporeal and cerebral, The Debt is a superbly crafted espionage thriller packed with Israeli-Nazi score settling.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 30, 2011
    80
    This is real edge-of-your-seat stuff, in a throwback way - no booming special effects, just old-school timing and execution.
  3. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 30, 2011
    75
    A more daring script might have found ways to tell the stories in parallel, doling out just enough information to keep viewers involved. But, as it is, The Debt grasps the viewer pretty firmly, delivering thrills without trivializing the moral quandaries that set it in motion.
  4. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Aug 30, 2011
    70
    The remake ups the adrenaline factor, and features strong performances across the board, yet feels bogged down by a weighty love triangle and a subject that merits more than the old-school good vs. evil approach.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 31, 2011
    63
    There are some nice surprises in store, as well, but the longer Madden's story goes on, the more manufactured things tend to feel.
  6. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Sep 2, 2011
    61
    The movie drowns the deeper questions it raises in a sadistic procedural, an endless circular motion of fight scenes whose only justification is themselves.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Aug 30, 2011
    40
    Despite the chronological juggling, the film's stylistic debts (a Hitchcock flashback borrowed from Stage Fright, a Bertolucci-esque apartment sequence that could be titled Last Tango in Auschwitz) are simplistic to a fault; they lack the multifaceted suspense and sensuality typified by those directors at their best.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
  1. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    Excellent...across the board. Intense and complex ... well executed, superb acting. Not sure if those who gave this a lower rating watched the same movie. It's a 10...hands down. Expand
  2. Sep 27, 2013
    9
    In a year where not many effective thrillers put all their cards on the table, The Debt is a sigh of relief. It is intelligent, and the way they did the flashback and present day was an interesting addition. Great acting, and good dramatic moments. This was actually a very thrilling movie. Expand
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Smart, quiet, and provocative, "The Debt" proves to be a successful thriller of the more subtle kind.
  4. Sep 24, 2011
    7
    Superbly acted, extremely well written and with a gut wrenching ending to boot, "The Debt" is a terrific addition to The Holocaust/spy movie genre. This movie asks and to some extent answers the question: "What happens to the hunters when the hunted continues to control their lives long after the hunt is over?"

    I do agree with Roger Ebert that the one major flaw in this film is the fact that the actors who portray the three protagonists in 1965 look nothing like the actors who portray them in 1997. It took me almost an hour to figure out who was playing Sam Waterson's character, David, 30 years after the mission that defined their lives. This was a major distraction early on because the movie toggles back and forth through time. Nevertheless, the plot is so compelling and the acting is so powerful that you become anxious for the ending to come so you can see how the story turns out.

    Hang in there with this one and get ready for a finale that will leave you thinking for a while about good and evil; right and wrong .
    Expand
  5. Apr 13, 2013
    5
    "The Lie" would've been a more appropriate title. It's a decent enough film but doesn't raise the bar in any area. I'm not a fan of temporal-settings (ie, jumping from settings in the past and present) because it does more to upset the viewer than to tell a coherent story. And sorry, but the fight between two ancients at the end was comically reminiscent of the "Family Guy" episode where Mr Herbert fights the old nazi that lives next door. Expand
  6. Sep 5, 2011
    1
    In what had the potential to be a gripping thriller, The Debt takes way too long to get to its interesting plot twist, which turns out to be poorly overwritten, pathetically directed and mind-numbingly paced, even stellar acting pedigree cannot save this immensely bad film.   Expand

See all 39 User Reviews

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