Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Debt Movie Review

     I’m not usually one for ‘violent’ movies. I do see them but they are not top on my priority, unless, of course, Helen Mirren is in them. I saw “The Debt” yesterday with a friend. We try to go weekly to see a movie, hoping there is one playing we want to see. This one seemed like a good bet as the stars are some of my preferred.
     It’s been quite some time-since “Inglorious Bastards” I think-that I’ve seen a movie with a WW II theme to it. That theme got so old at one point because the movies were very similar. This one is from a different point of view. It’s set in three Israeli’s POV’s and that gives it a good ‘twist’. A German doctor from a concentration camp, the “Surgeon of Birkenau”, three Israelis on a mission to find him and bring him to justice. This is the “theme” of the movie. It raises questions. It displays human nature in all its glory or messy detail; one can’t help but see it doesn’t matter what/who you are. We all have common reactions to situations that connect us in one way or another to each other. 

     I talked to my husband about it because I felt the need to get it out of my head a bit. His first comment hit me hard; disbelief, outrage, pity, I wanted to cry. Evidently, out of all the ‘experiments’ practiced upon all the prisoners; Russian, Polish, Jewish, POW’s and intellectuals, Gypsy’s, homosexuals alike, only one went on to actually be used to benefit humankind.  Life preservers. Yes, the ones that go around your head to make sure if you pass out that your head stays above water. This was tested on male prisoners in icy water to see what it was that would either save a life or end it. Be forewarned, graphic photos at this site (
Granted this is a big one, a big ‘gift’ for humanity, but really, how many died for it to be discovered?  Nothing else? Out of all that torture, out of all that death and misery the German scientists and doctors have nothing else positive to show for it? I wonder if they felt it was worth the effort. I wonder how the doctors got past their “Hippocratic Oath?”
     The grief the people in the movie experience, the events that changed their lives, I wonder how those who exist today-in reality-feel about this movie? Does it capture their feelings in any way? Does it capture their emotions and experiences?  Or is it too Hollywood-ized? I think it speaks well to what is important to people when put to the test. The setting is uncomfortable but the theme is universal and it isn’t just about good versus evil. It’s about being human, being greedy, being a mother, being a lover, being without a conscious, it’s about paying a debt. It’s about decisions right and wrong and why we make them. I went to a memorial service of a dear friend recently and one thing her daughters had to say about her was that she taught them how to make decisions, good or bad, she taught them to make them, to think and to act. I think this is a true gift. To be able to make a decision and to stand behind it when it’s right, to acknowledge and learn from it when it’s wrong. This is important. This movie is about decisions made and their consequences. This movie is about that color between black and white called human.

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