Poor Critics Review plus a film that does not fulfill its obvious potential
, 22 Jul 2012
It is only an opinion, it is at the end of the day all about opinions, is it not (?) but I so often find the worst 'professional critics'' reviews about films to be those of 'Time Out'. I rely mainly on 'ordinary' viewers' reviews but, when obviously I also look at the professional critics' reviews, I find Halliwell and this site's own employees to usually show the most expertise and trustworthiness.
The review on this site for 'The Debt' comes from 'Time Out' and IMHO is dire ---way off the mark. First, it says the film virtually sells itself on the cast alone because it is so worthy. Not so---
the cream of acting talent can appear in great, good , average or poor films.
Second, the review then goes on to appear to contradict its first remark by implying that the most famous and talented British actors appear in the roles that , if anything, are the ones that detract from the otherwise excellent ( in the 'Time Out' reviewer's opinion) film. Again, I totally disagree ----
I found that the much-loved and talented actors who appear in the roles set in the present day --which is 1997 for the purposes of this film ( Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds) make a far better contribution to the overall film than the performances of those playing those actors' younger selves set in 1965.
Problem is :there is no doubt that the action and adventure, and whole basis of the plot, lies in the events in 1965 East Berlin. I found the performances set in 1965 , except for the evil Nazi ( Jesper Christensen), to detract from that part of the film. The 3 actors playing the Mossad trio in 1965 were not convincing ; the viewer needs only to compare Helen Mirren's final sequences of the film to see the weaknesses of her counterpart chosen for the 1965 sequences ( Jessica Chastain).
So my own opinion, perhaps mine alone---please let me know---is that the crucial 1965 part of the film was let down by poor substitutes for the 3 central characters as portrayed Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds in the 1997 parts of the film. And, as the 1965 events are more crucial than those of 1997.......something is lost.
Also, the plot has a few flaws in 1965 which also detract from this part of the movie. The most glaring example is the fact that our young 1965 heroine obviously loves one of her fellow Mossad team but, as soon as rebuffed by him ( the same day in fact), falls into bed with the other male agent as though she has just come on the mission for sexual adventure, which could not be further from the truth ; and is something which does not fit in with the character of our heroine at all.
Another example of the weakness of the storyline in 1965 is that the idealistic agent would never have agreed to the proposal for dealing with all that transpires in East Berlin
( and I say no more so as not to include a 'spoiler') because , by doing so he is giving a monstrous man carte blanche to avoid being hunted anymore by any law-enforcement agencies.
Sorry to have rambled on for ages about what I think is a fairly average film ( disappointing in view of the acting talent available) but I have done so partly in the hope that some later reviewers might let me know their own thoughts about the 'professional ' review from 'Time Out' on this site ( is it time to use The Evening Standard , IMDB or other reviews here?)and whether they agree or disagree with my overall view of the film and particularly the individual points I have made above. I welcome others' opinions so am ready to be told I am talking nonsense :)
This is a film with an interesting plot, full of potential, great top British stars.....which I think goes astray and falls way short of its potential. A pity when such 'different' and interesting plots do not grow on trees.
- Was this review helpful to you?
(34) Yes |