The Debt

Jessica Chastain as: Young Rachel Singer
Directed by: John Madden
Screenplay by: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman
Selected Cast: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Tom Wilkingson, Marton Csokas
Running Time: 113min
Release Date: September 04, 2010 (Deauville)
Wide Release: August 31, 2011
Genre: Drama, Thriller

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.

Production Notes

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. Jessica plays younger Mirren, a Mossad agent who’s tasked with tracking down a Nazi war criminal in East Berlin in the mid-’60s. The film switches back and forth between the 1960s with Chastain, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas as the team in charge of capturing Dieter Vogel, and 1997 with Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds, and Tom Wilkinson playing the same characters, retired and harboring a secret they’ve shared for 30 years. Chastain and Mirren worked together before filming to perfect the voice and mannerisms of the character and make them consistent. In addition, Chastain took classes in German and krav maga, and studied books about Josef Mengele and Mossad history.

This film is based on the 2007 Israeli film of the same name (known asHa-Hov or HaChov in Hebrew). There’s several differences between the two films, including the name of Rachel Singer, which was Rachel Berner in the original film.

The Debt 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.