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Old 11-28-2011, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=226388&d=1319721846
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Universal - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, Jesper Christensen, Marton Csokas, Ciaran Hinds
Directed by: John Madden
Music by: Thomas Newman
Written by: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 6, 2011







"The truth never dies"



Film Synopsis:

Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren and two-time Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson star in The Debt. In 1966, three Mossad agents were assigned to track down a feared Nazi war criminal hiding in East Berlin, a mission accomplished at great risk and personal cost or was it? Thirty years later, the suspense builds as shocking news and surprising revelations compel retired team member Rachel Singer (Mirren) to take matters into her own hands.



My Take:

The Debt revolves around Rachel, David and Stephan, three Israeli Mossad agents that are assigned the arduous task of capturing a Nazi war criminal in the mid nineteen sixties. Hailed as heroes upon their return the storyline moves back and forth, between then and thirty years later which finds each of them still dealing with the repercussions of that assignment. The time shifts backward reveal the complexity of developing interpersonal relationships between them, the danger of their assigned task and its outcome which holds a secret that locks the trio in a 30 year long alliance. In the present events unfold that require them to revisit that alliance or suffer the consequences.

The Debt is the kind of film that is right up my alley. It's an intelligently crafted espionage piece with a mystery/thriller edge to coincide with low level elements of drama/action/suspense. This isn't a run of the mill spy flick that relies on the allure of action or turning a blind eye to an overly campy plot. At its heart The Debt is a character driven film based on a historically poignant narrative that is seemingly superficial but ultimately reaches deeper. There is drama that fluctuates between issues of morality, regret, and obligation but it doesn't displace the richness of the context which remains focused on the mystery/suspense associated with what happened then and how it must be dealt with now. The first two acts of the film are quite compelling and feature a solid mix of action, rewarding interplay and intrigue. The finale doesn't live up to the remainder of the film and devolves into a disappointing finish that left me wanting. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances by the talented cast. Helen Mirren is a personal favorite and having recently seen Jessica Chastain in The Tree of life, this film, and The help (review forthcoming) I must admit that she has made an impression. Weak ending or not The Debt has more than enough steam to make for an entertaining spy thriller that is well worth its 114 minute runtime.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, language and a scene of sensuality.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

The Debt comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn't always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn't a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are nice and deep which provides plenty of pop when onscreen with mixed content. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. Grain is visibly moderate and appears to be well preserved.

This is primarily a dialogue driven film however there are elements that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to deliver the action based sequences as well as to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material.



Bonus Features:


  • Feature commentary with director John Madden and producer Kris Thykier

  • (HD) A look inside The Debt - 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) Every secret has a price: Helen Mirren in The Debt - 3 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Berlin affair: The triangle at the center of The Debt - 2 minute featurette

  • My scenes bookmark feature

  • pocket BLU

  • BD-Live enabled




Final Thoughts:

The Debt is an intelligently crafted espionage/mystery/thriller piece that at its heart is a character driven film that features rewarding elements of drama/action/suspense. The finale doesn't quite live up to the first two acts but it doesn't spoil an otherwise entertaining and fresh feeling genre entry that fans should enjoy. It makes its way onto Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality and a light supplemental package that left me wanting. The Debt on Blu-ray is worth checking out so drop it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:34 PM
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Thought this movie was well made (except for the ending as what Ralph said) and with a great ensemble cast. Thought Jessica's hand to hand fighting skills was great. Defintely a collect movie for me.

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Old 11-28-2011, 08:54 PM
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Thanks King P... going to pick this up before the weekend ! I'm looking forward to Planet of the Apes.... review coming ?
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks King P... going to pick this up before the weekend ! I'm looking forward to Planet of the Apes.... review coming ?

Greetings,

That's the plan EF67 but it hasn't arrived yet. Thanks!

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Old 11-29-2011, 08:16 AM
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This is one movie I wanted to see in the theater this summer and never got around to it. Day one buy passed on the premise!
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:35 AM
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Jesica Chastain delivered a tour-de-force performance in JOLENE, so I'll check this out for that reason.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:59 PM
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The movie was very good except the ending.
Seems hollywood does that a lot now a days!
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:13 PM
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This was a good movie slightly done in by questionable casting choices - the two main male characters are cast completely backwards (either in the future or the past). There is no way on earth Ciaran Hinds looks like an older Sam Worthington, but he is a dead ringer for an older Marton Csokas. And Tom Wilkinson is definitely believable as an older Sam Worthington, but absolutely NOT an older Marton Csokas.

What. The. Eff?

This made the move utterly confusing - and this has been discussed as so on numerous forums regarding this film. Reverse the casting and it makes more sense.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:13 PM
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I liked The Debt a lot. I agree with Ralph's assessment that the PQ and AQ are just fine but unremarkable. Dramatically, the film was an intricate and intense drama, which portrayed a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. I agree that the final act is difficult but understand why the filmmakers decided to handle it as they did.

The Debt is not for the faint of heart. It is sad, in some ways nearly hopeless, but it tells an intelligent thoughtful story in an intelligent thoughtful way. In short, getting through it is a difficult journey but, in the end, a rewarding one. Recommended, 7 Stars out of 10.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I liked The Debt a lot. I agree with Ralph's assessment that the PQ and AQ are just fine but unremarkable. Dramatically, the film was an intricate and intense drama, which portrayed a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. I agree that the final act is difficult but understand why the filmmakers decided to handle it as they did.

The Debt is not for the faint of heart. It is sad, in some ways nearly hopeless, but it tells an intelligent thoughtful story in an intelligent thoughtful way. In short, getting through it is a difficult journey but, in the end, a rewarding one. Recommended, 7 Stars out of 10.

Greetings,

Glad you enjoyed it gwsat. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

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Old 12-10-2011, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I liked The Debt a lot. I agree with Ralph's assessment that the PQ and AQ are just fine but unremarkable. Dramatically, the film was an intricate and intense drama, which portrayed a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. I agree that the final act is difficult but understand why the filmmakers decided to handle it as they did.

The Debt is not for the faint of heart. It is sad, in some ways nearly hopeless, but it tells an intelligent thoughtful story in an intelligent thoughtful way. In short, getting through it is a difficult journey but, in the end, a rewarding one. Recommended, 7 Stars out of 10.

I thought the structure of this film was excellent. I was pretty much riveted to my seat for the duration of it, and I wasn't quite as critical of the ending as others.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I thought the most intense parts of the film were the interations between the Nazi "surgeon" and his captors. The psychology of it all and the way they had to try and suppress their anger/hate for the sake of their overall goal was almost too much to bear! And when they got to the part where they revisited the escape scene, but took it in a different direction, my heart sank out of my chest and into my gut. Really well done!
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:10 AM
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Damn! Ralph's review makes this movie sound so good. We thought it was slow and lacked some excitement. Yes, the ending makes no sense which made everything that much 'worse'. The acting was good, but this is a movie, not a play and I expect more from a movie.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:24 AM
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I agree with the casting choices being horribly wrong. The older Sam Worthington character looked horrible. There is no way. Helen Mirren's character ( younger version ) was spot on though. Very confusing.

Kaboom.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:58 PM
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Another "par for the course" review Ralph (that's a COMPLIMENT)!

As with you, I love this genre and I thought most of the actors gave a stellar performance (especially the two female leads...Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren). The pacing was spot on and I never lost interest one iota during the nearly two hour running time.

I agree with your assessment of the PQ, except for the black levels, which were a bit murky (at times) on my Pioneer KURO. I also thought the contrast was boosted too high in a couple of earlier scenes, resulting in overblown whites. In my review in the "Blu-ray PQ" thread I rated it as *average* (Tier 3).

On a side note, this is the second title I've seen this week with Jessica Chastain in it (the other being The Help) and I am REALLY impressed with the talent she has for various roles. In The Help she comes across perfectly as the "Ditsy Blonde" and in The Debt she's at the other end of the spectrum playing an "intelligent spy." I look forward to seeing her in many more roles.

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Old 12-24-2011, 05:24 AM
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On a side note, this is the second title I've seen this week with Jessica Chastain in it (the other being The Help) and I am REALLY impressed with the talent she has for various roles. In The Help she comes across perfectly as the "Ditsy Blonde" and in The Debt she's at the other end of the spectrum playing an "intelligent spy." I look forward to seeing her in many more roles.

WOW, I had no idea that was the same actress! Thanks for pointing that out...I have to say, I'm VERY impressed with her knowing that she was in both roles. Very impressive!

By the way, Merry Christmas Ralph, Lee, and everyone! Thanks for a great year of bluray reviews!!
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:17 AM
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WOW, I had no idea that was the same actress! Thanks for pointing that out...I have to say, I'm VERY impressed with her knowing that she was in both roles. Very impressive!

She's been in numerous films; in fact, I just saw her a few weeks ago in The Tree of Life. She is one of those Gems that can play in any role.

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Old 01-08-2012, 10:16 AM
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Just got around to seeing this and couldn't agree more with Ralph's review. This is a movie that keeps you interested throughout. Not with CGI graphics and explosions but a solid plot and enough twists and turns to keep you wondering what's around the corner. Overall superb acting and a solid plot.

And OMG - I agree the casting of the men is completely backward. While watching I wasn't sure, and it got confusing at a point who was who, so I had to check the web for actors/characters.
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:09 PM
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I don't normally watch movies with the commentary on, but if an ending seems either a little confusing, or not what I wanted to see, I'll turn on the commentary and watch the ending to see what the director has to say.

In this case he does talk about the ending being shot a couple of ways....but not really a big change.

Regards,
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