REVIEW: The Debt

The Debt
Directed by: John Madden
Written by: Matthew Vaughen, Jane Goldmen, & Peter Straughan (adapted screenplay) Assaf Bernstein & Ido Rosenblum (original screenplay)
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Marton Csokas

Basic themes of guilt and revenge last a lifetime in The Debt.  It deliberately doesn’t want to be that movie that lets its characters move from one body to the next and forget their brutality.  Nobody is let off the hook; no matter how justified their actions seem in the beginning, at the end your feelings for all of them will likely be mixed.

There are few causes more justified than tracking down an escaped Nazi so they can be put on trial for their crimes.  This is the goal of three young Mossad agents, Rachel (Jessica Chastain), Stephen (Marton Csokas) and David (Sam Worthington), sent to track down an evil Nazi doctor (Jesper Christensen) who performed cruel experiments on prisoners during the war.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime
Directed by: Todd Solondz
Written by: Todd Solondz (screenplay)
Starring: Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney, Dylan Riley Snyder, and Michael Lerner

Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime is not as vulgar as his 1998 film Happiness, though this will be little consolation to anyone who sees it.  Embedded in this painfully funny movie are unspeakably awful events, and part of what gives the movie its edge and its comedy is how callously these characters seem to treat them.

Solondz has made a sequel to Happiness in his own way.  The characters are the same, though all the actors are different.   You will be able to understand this movie without seeing its predecessor.  We’re revisiting these people as if we were dropping in on a random episode of Seinfeld; if you’re familiar with the characters you’ll get more out of it.

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