Film review: The Debt

The Debt: Helen Mirren
The Debt: Helen Mirren

The Debt (15 - Dir: John Madden – Stars: Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson)

Rachel Singer (Mirren) is part of a team of Mossad agents in East Berlin to capture and return to Israel for trial and retribution the infamous Nazi killer Vogel, responsible for appalling experimentation on Jewish adults and children as the Surgeon of Birkenau.

The mission is mainly successful, and the agents return to national adulation.

Despite initial confusion over the mixing of actors playing the younger and older agents, The Debt is a return to top form for Mirren.

The tension builds impressively and is sustained to the dramatic end, and it has the most subtle of twists mid-film you are ever likely to see.

8/10

In a Better World (15 – Dir Suzanne Bier – Stars: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomson)

Anton (Persbrandt) is a man of great humanity.

Swedish, he gives generously of his time caring for the sick in Kenya.

Among his most disturbing cases are the pregnant women mutilated by a tribal ‘big man’ to reinforce his domination.

Back home, his young son and friend are close to falling victim to the same lure of violence as they face a testing dilemma of ‘manhood:’ the primitive masculinity of revenge, or a civilised restraint.

In a Better World is both a fascinating story, and an impressive exploration of the compelling nature of testosterone-driven violence among men.

8/10

Fright Night (15 – Dir: Craig Gillespie – Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tenant, Imogen Poots)

Fright Night just about manages to offer something different in the long list of vampire yarns.

New neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Farrell) has a certain animal charm, everyone agrees.

Charley (Yelchin) is suspicious of his new friend’s pulling power with the ladies, but can’t put his figure on how he does it.

Then Charley’s mates, male and female, start disappearing.

Tenant plays a vampire tribute act conman who reluctantly gets dragged into the action, and between them he and Charley tool up with the relevant religious artefacts to take on the 500 years old monster at his own game.

7/10