The Debt
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The Debt is a 2010 remake of the 2007 Israeli thriller film Ha-Hov, directed by John Madden from a screenplay by Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan. It stars Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Marton Csokas and Jesper Christensen.

Although ready for release in July 2010, and scheduled for a December 2010 release in the United States, the film only toured various film festivals during the autumn of 2010 and spring of 2011. It didn t see a general release until it was released in France on 15 June 2011, followed by Kazakhstan and Russia in July 2011, and the United States, Canada and India on 31 August 2011.


In 1997, Rachel is honoured by her daughter Sarah during a release party in Tel Aviv for Sarah s book based on the account Rachel, Stefan and David gave of the events in 1965. Concurrently, David is escorted from his apartment by an Israeli government agent for a debriefing. David recognises Stefan waiting in another vehicle and unable to face their lie, he commits suicide by stepping in front of an oncoming truck.

In 1965, young Mossad agent Rachel Singer on her first field assignment arrives in East Berlin to meet with more experienced agents David Peretz and Stefan Gold. Their mission is to capture Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel—infamously known as The Surgeon of Birkenau for his medical experiments on Jews during World War II—and bring him to Israel to face justice. Rachel and David present themselves as a married couple from Argentina and Rachel becomes a patient at Vogel s obstetrics and gynaecology clinic.

At a doctor appointment, Rachel injects Vogel with a sedative during an examination and convinces the nurse to believe that he has suffered a heart attack. Stefan and David arrive dressed as paramedics and take off with the unconscious Vogel in an ambulance. They attempt to leave by train, but Vogel awakens and sounds the horn of the van where he is being held, alerting guards to their presence. When gunfire erupts, David saves the compromised Rachel. The Mossad agents have no choice but to bring Vogel to their apartment and plan a new extraction.

The agents take turns monitoring and feeding Vogel while leaving him chained to the wall heater. During his shift, David becomes violently enraged after Vogel explains his beliefs that Jews have many weaknesses, such as selfishness, making them easily subdued. David smashes a bowl over Vogel s head and starts repeatedly to beat him. Rachel runs in and tries to stop him but David unknowingly hits her while still hitting Vogel. David is finally restrained and pulled out of the room by Stefan.

Rachel goes into the bathroom to wash the blood off her face leaving Vogel alone. Vogel surreptitiously grabs a shard of the broken bowl and starts cutting through his bonds. When Rachel returns to the room Vogel attacks her with the shard, throwing her against the wall and knocking her unconscious. Vogel opens the front door, runs down the stairs and escapes.

Stefan, panicking and hoping to avoid humiliation comes up with a fictional story that Rachel shot and killed Vogel because he was trying to escape. They then got rid of the body. Rachel insists they cannot lie about what happened but David, who is blaming himself for Vogel escaping, agrees to lie. Stefan pushes Rachel to reluctantly agree.

In the following years, the agents are venerated as national heroes for their roles in the mission. At a dinner after their daughter s book release party, Stefan takes Rachel aside to set a meeting to discuss new information he has obtained. Later, at David s flat, Stefan provides evidence that Vogel is in a mental hospital in Ukraine, and is soon scheduled to be interviewed by a local journalist.

Stefan claims David killed himself because he was a coward. Rachel refutes Stefan s explanation, recalling an encounter with David a day before his suicide, in which he revealed his shame about the lie and disclosed that he had spent years unsuccessfully searching the world for Vogel so he could finally be brought to justice. He was further disheartened by Rachel s admission that she would continue propagating the lie to protect those closest to her, particularly her daughter.

Nevertheless, Rachel finally feels compelled to travel to Kyiv. She investigates the journalist s lead and is able to travel to the asylum. She reaches the room just minutes before the journalist and discovers the man claiming to be Vogel is not him. Describing the encounter to Stefan over the phone, Rachel declares she will not continue to lie about the 1965 mission. She leaves a note for the journalist and suddenly spots the real Vogel among the other patients and follows him to an isolated area of the hospital.

After a confrontation in which Vogel stabs her twice with scissors, Rachel kills Vogel by plunging a poisoned syringe into his back. Later Rachel s note is discovered and read by the journalist. It describes the truth of the mission, ready to be relayed to the world.


  • Helen Mirren as Rachel Singer in 1997 Jessica Chastain as Rachel Singer in 1965 and 1970
  • Jessica Chastain as Rachel Singer in 1965 and 1970
  • Ciarán Hinds as David Peretz in 1997 Sam Worthington as David Peretz in 1965 and 1970
  • Sam Worthington as David Peretz in 1965 and 1970
  • Tom Wilkinson as Stefan Gold in 1997 Marton Csokas as Stefan Gold in 1965 and 1970
  • Marton Csokas as Stefan Gold in 1965 and 1970
  • Jesper Christensen as Dieter Vogel
  • Romi Aboulafia as Sarah Gold
  • Yonatan Uziel as Mossad Agent


Israeli papers reported that Mirren was immersing herself in studies of the Hebrew language, Jewish history and Holocaust writings, including the life of Simon Wiesenthal, while spending time in Israel in 2009 to shoot scenes in the film. My character is carrying the memory, anger and passion of the Holocaust, she said.


The film premiered at the Deauville American Film Festival in France on 4 September 2010, followed by 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on 14 September 2010, and various other festivals during the autumn of 2010 and spring of 2011.

The film was ready to be released already in early July 2010, when it was submitted to the British Board of Film Classification, and Miramax had originally announced plans to release it in the United States on December 29, 2010, and it quickly began to appear on lists of possible 2011 Oscar contenders. However, the film was one of two that had their official opening dates delayed until 2011 because of the transfer of Miramax from its previous owner Disney and the new owner Filmyard.

The film saw its first general release in France on 15 June 2011, followed by Kazakhstan and Russia in July 2011, and United States, Canada and India on 31 August 2011.

Critical reception

The film has received generally positive response among critics and viewers. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 77% of the 185 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average critical score of 6.6/10. The site s consensus states, Its time-shifting narrative creates distracting casting problems, but ultimately, The Debt is a smart, well-acted entry in a genre that could use more like it. Metacritic, a review aggregator which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 65 based on 37 reviews. Victoria Alexander of Films in Review said of the film, The twists are shocking and mesmerizing. A high wire, intelligent espionage thriller. It is one of the best movies of 2011.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four:

Maybe the problem is a structure that cuts around in time. Three characters, six actors, and although the woman is always presumably Rachel, I was sometimes asking myself which of the two men I was seeing when younger. In a thriller, you must be sure. I suspect this film would have been more effective if it had remained entirely in the past, especially given all we know.

Richard Middleton-Kaplan cited the film as a recent example of a work playing to the myth of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust, because the Mossad agents do not effectively rebut the doctor s claims:

Contrasted against presumed Jewish passivity is the doctor’s own resistance as he fights against his captors, kicking, spitting in their faces, laughing at their authority, and ultimately escaping; in short, he does everything that Jews are assumed not to have done. The audience is left to wonder why, if this old doctor was able to escape from his captors, Jews were not able to fight back and escape theirs.

Year 2010
ReleaseDate 2011-08-31
RuntimeMins 113
RuntimeStr 1h 53min
Plot In 1965, three Mossad Agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the Agents share come back to haunt them.
Awards Awards, 13 wins & 5 nominations
Directors John Madden
Writers Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan
Stars Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkinson
Produced by Mairi Bett,Eitan Evan,Tarquin Pack,Eduardo Rossoff,Kris Thykier,Matthew Vaughn
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography by Ben Davis
Film Editing by Alexander Berner
Casting By Michelle Guish
Production Design by Jim Clay
Art Direction by Peter Francis
Set Decoration by John Bush
Costume Design by Natalie Ward
Makeup Department Csilla Blake-Horváth,Adi Chayat,Nathaniel De’Lineadeus,Sigalit Grau,Judit Halász,Ziv Katanov,Kristyan Mallett,Daniel Phillips,Renato,Alex Rouse,Jan Sewell,Karen Ben Simhom,Dan Frye,Chris Lyons
Production Management Tania Blunden,Sasha Harris,Dan Hassid,Gadi Levy,Richard Szabó,Maria Ungor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Joey Coughlin,Gergely Fülöp,Robyn Glaser,Zsuzsa Gurban,Olivia Lloyd,Misi Moso,Deborah Saban,Shir Shoshani,Tamás Vass
Art Department Shunit Aharoni,Roxana A. Balogh,Celia Barnett,Marc Beros,Eyal Biterman,John Bohan,Dávid Breier,Matthew Broderick,Tamar Cassulo,Roy Chapman,Temple Clark,Judit Csák,Tünde Csáki,Ido Dolev,Colin Ellis,Veronica Falzon,Barry Gibbs,Ehud Gutterman,Jakab Gábor,József Hajdu,Terry Heggarty,Zoltán Horváth,Peter James,Attila Kiss,József Kiss,David Lowery,Tom Martin,Dominic Masters,Bernie Mayor,Eamon McLoughlin,Branko Mihalek,Alexandra Miklos,Csaba Mitku,Garry Moore,Mitch Niclas,Danny O’Regan Jr.,Darryl Paterson,Noa Potachek,Liron Rotman,David Smith,Michael Standish,Csaba Stork,Imre Sándor,Steve Tranfield,Irra Velazquez,Csaba Vásári,Clive Ward,Kevin Wheeler,Paul Whitelock,Alan Willson,József Ócsai,Johanna Muench,Sophie Tarver
Sound Department Mark Appleby,Ricky Butt,Tim Cavagin,Mitch Clyman,Mark DeSimone,Alex Epstine,Robin Knapp,Mark Lafbery,Peter Lindsay,Attila Madaras,György Mihályi,Kate Morath,Theotime Pardon,Peter Schulteisz,Andy Shelley,Steve Single,Alastair Sirkett,Jason Stevens,Jack Stew,Ian Wilson,Simon Diggins,Michael Miller,James Shannon
Special Effects by János Berki,Stuart Brisdon,Mark Haddenham,Gabor Kiszelly,Gyula Krasnyánszky,Tibor Skornyak,Attila Varsányi,Nigel Wilkinson,Tez Palmer
Visual Effects by Diccon Alexander,Stella Ampatzi,Dan Lindskov Andersen,Kris Anderson,Matthew Baker,Daniel Baldwin,Adam Barnett,Martin Body,Mark Bradley,Mike Bryant,Francesco Canonico,Nick Chiang,Peter Chiang,Ian Copeland,Luan Davis,Ditch Doy,Miles Drake,Laura Fitzpatrick,Walter Gilbert,Charlotte Gray,Elizabeth Gray,Simon Gretton,Adam Hammond,Pete Hanson,Ben Hicks,Emma Hulme,Mason Jarratt,Daniel Jenkins,Andrew Kingston,Diane Kingston,Sam Lane,Isaac Layish,Matthew Leach,Patrick Ledda,Taz Lodder,Antony Loobey,John Mann,Will Martindale,Jolene McCaffrey,Rosanna Mennear,Tristan Myles,Tahl Niran,Christopher T. Page,Emanuele Pescatori,Matthew Plummer,Paul Round,James Russell,Olle Rydberg,Paul Scott,Deepa Sebastian,Natalie Stopford,John Swinnerton,Stephen Thornhill,Zelda Tinska,Jamie Tremelling,Nicola Valsamakis,Nicky Walsh,Jennifer Wood,Jo Ann Cordero Belen,Samual Dawes,Sara Diaz,Christopher Jaques,Kim Lim Loo,Naveen Medaram,Richard R. Reed,Niki Turpin
Stunts Mark Archer,Sergei Baladinsky,Ferenc Berecz,Gábor Duck,Roy Elghanayan,Balázs Farkas,Elaine Ford,Aldonio Danny Freitas,Gergö Horpácsi,Dori Horvath,Viktor Kovács,Nick Maison,Kim McGarrity,Attila Mora,Alex Osmolovsky,Dima Osmolovsky,Domonkos Pardanyi,Peter Pedrero,Gábor Piroch,Greg Powell,Julian Spencer,Gáspár Szabó,Roy Taylor,Aldonio Danny Freitas,Kinga Gavalda,Laszlo Kosa,Balazs Lengyel
Camera and Electrical Department Szoke Andras,Meir Arad,Eitan Ben Arie,Benny Bargig,Izchak Ben Ariya,Liad Berger,James Brown,Sonny Burdis,Zsolt Büti,Carl Campbell,Asher Cohen,Eli Cohen,Avi Dassberg,Zoltán Dzsupin,Elad Elbar,István Figlár,Kevin Fraser,Tibor Gazdig,Károly Gaál,Matan Geffen,István Gottmann,Dave Gray,István Gyura,Ron Haimov,Nir Harari,Lewis Hume,István Háry,Gábor Inczédy,Tibor Kecskeméti,Ezer Ketzev,Gusztáv Kirsch,Itzik Levi,László Major,Sándor Major,Roi Mano,Guy Minoli,Guy Naaman,Pál Perlaki,Dror Piltz,András Pozsár,Clive Prior,Kristóf Párdányi,Alastair Rae,Sam Renton,Avihai Rohkon,György Réder,Moshe Shabbat,Beny Shasa,Adva Shoua,Lajos Simon,Imre Sisa,David Smith,Laurie Sparham,Kat Spencer,Tamás Takács,Eli Turgeman,Jack Warrender,Andrew Watson,Amnon Zlayet,Gábor Balda,Csaba Bankhardt,Shimon Belfer,Leigh Gold,Csaba Polgár,Szabolcs Sipos,Attila Szûcs
Casting Department Abigail Barbier,Sándor Dénes,Louis Elman,Tamás Kertész,Esther Kling,Balázs Kovács,Adrienn Lakatos,Mari Makó,Terri Taylor
Costume and Wardrobe Department Michal Arbit,Brigitta Barko,Louise Cassettari,Sándor Csajbók,Pat Farmer,Tom Hornsby,Poli Kyriacou,Péter Palotás,Noga Preis,Orsolya Sallai,Charlotte Sewell,Inbal Shuki,Sunita Singh,Hilary Steiman,Zsuzsa Stenger,Katalin Ujvari,Chris Winter,Esme Young,Dana Yungelson
Editorial Department Matt Adams,Bori Bartucz,Matthew Benns,Joseph Boyle,Matthew Bristowe,Clare Brody,Charlotte Dean,Dan Dolan,Oliver Farkas,Matyas Fekete,Gabor Forgacs,Aron Jaszbereny,Laszlo Juhasz,Tamara Juristovszky,Márk Jászberényi,Benedek Kabán,Heni Kovacs,Jaime Leonard,Scott Liddle,Begoña Lopez,Faye Morgan,Nadia Naimi,Danny Salas,Anna Salter,Ben Setterfield,Asa Shoul,Catherine Williams,Gilbert Carreras,Sean Cooney,Adam Jurkovich
Location Management Kálmán Antal,Bea Beliczai,Danny Ben Menahem,Elia Libman,Imre Légmán
Music Department John Beasley,Bill Bernstein,Rick Cox,Sandy DeCrescent,George Doering,Michael Fisher,Ernest Lee,Larry Mah,Andrew McKenna,Shinnosuke Miyazawa,Leslie Morris,Thomas Newman,J.A.C. Redford,Peter Rotter,Armin Steiner,Steve Tavaglione,Thomas Vicari,Michael Zainer,The Hollywood Studio Symphony,Scott McRae,Tim Rodier
Script and Continuity Department Kim Armitage
Transportation Department Uri Abramson,Asaf Almagor,Ilan Apple,Trevor Atkin,Zoltán Bai,Tomer Baron,Prague Benbenisty,Istv&aacute Bognár,Edit Boroznaki,Symon Butcher,Avi Cohen,Attila Czuni,Gábor Czúni,Alon Dahan,Péter Dancsó,Zsolt Dinnyés,Eli Ezra,Bandi Filó,Haim Francis,Iftach Gabay,Martyn Giles,Rafi Grabovitzki,Georg Grohmann,András Grúz,Mihály Gáspár,Rob Hempenstall,Gal Hen,Sándor Horváth,Attila Kiss,László Kiss,Amnon Livne,Yakov Malchin,Eldad Miller,István Márton,Ofer Netzer,Pal Nyerges,Shira Porat,Yitshak Saadi,Ilan Sagiv,Tamás Simon,János Spák,Lukács Szabó,Zoltán Szalay,Sándor Vercz,József Vigh,Yonatan Zaid,Ákos Zilber,Eli Zohar,Norbert Kroó
Additional Crew Meirav Adler,Pip Ayers,Gergö Bajczár,Zsolt Bajczár,Steve Balestrieri,Csaba Benedek,Roland Birtha,Peter Boothby,Linda Bowen,Matthias Braun,W. Jack Buckner,Julie Burnham,Deepti Burton,Norbert Bánusz,Nurilla Bíró,Alison Cohen,Béla Dévényi,Galit Even,Niva Even,Gabriella Fancsali,Hollie Foster,Béla Gajdos,János Gidai,Efi Grienfeld,Hanan Grinfeld,Tarn Harper,Ella Harris,Ágota Horváth,Mick Hurrell,Polly Jefferies,Nick Jeffries,Gergely Kalocsay,Barbara Kaltner,Guszti Kalán,Charlotte Keating,Ildiko Kemeny,Chen Kesten,Miles Ketley,Andrea Kiss,Gal Kotzki,Réka Kovács,Tamar Krongrad,Adrienn Lakatos,Guri Lazar,Krisztina Letik,Gabriella Lovasz,Gabriella Ludlow,Zita Makói,Michael Mann,Stacy Mann,Leonie Mansfield,István Marsi,David Matityahu,Damian Mitchell,Steve Morphew,Christa Muller,Paul Murphy,Julian Murray,Lajos Nagy,Alexandra Nazarets,Merav Nirpaz,David Z. Obadiah,Zsofi Oblath,Ohad Oz,János Papp,Viktória Papp,Louise Parker,Margaret Parvin,Rob Pellecchia,Zsolt Pereházi,Karoly Radnai,Eszter Repassy,Pip Sansom,Dora Simko,Ingrid Simmonds,Samuel Smith,Sima Spinopolos,Sarah Stiff,Imre Suba,Nicki Sung,Szonja Szekerák,Ella Tal,Will Tyler,Margit Törökné,Joan Washington,Michal Wintroib,Reka Angyalosy,Michael Barnes,Michael Bartol,David Greenbaum,Ferenc Kondor,Kara Mazzola,Natasha Radski,Anett Rumanoczky,Istvan Szori,Béla Vaszary
Thanks Bridget O’Connor
Genres Drama, Thriller
Companies Miramax, Marv Films, Pioneer Pictures
Countries USA, UK, Hungary, Israel
Languages English, German, Russian
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6.8
ImDbRatingVotes 69673
MetacriticRating 65
Keywords nazi war criminal,holocaust survivor,war criminal,tel aviv israel,secret mission