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John Madden's THE DEBT: old people kicking ass

The greatest thing about THE DEBT, and this is no spoiler, is that it features older people acting out through violence. When’s the last time you saw that? Real ass-kicking and blood by the 50+ club? I loved David Edelstein’s review in New York Magazine, which doesn’t exactly talk about the violence enacted by retired-set, but he instead writes about the film’s somewhat maudlin properties and how they’re somehow forgiven. The second half of the film “turns into one howler after the other … yet it’s still gripping.”

I agree. It’s a popcorn movie that’s trying hard to deliver emotionally – and it works, for the most part, save a few large cheese balls coming right at you. As you probably know, Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain share the role of Rachel Singer, a Mossad agent who’s partially responsible for a 1965 mission to capture the infamous “Surgeon of Birkenau,” a monster of an SS physician who killed thousands. The ass-kicking? The capture and what ensues. The emotion? Secrets, love triangles. Some of it sweeps too broadly and is scored too big. But what’s unique? Age on film. Not that Mirren is a terribly old lady (in the film she’s mid-50s; in life she’s mid-60s) – but to see her really moving her body? Thrilling. Bona Fide geriatrics with sharp knives? Fun! Maybe it’s just me, but I’m just tired of really smooth skin and really firm muscles. Give me some flab when holding that weapon! I realize I might be the only person in America who wants to see it, but let it jiggle, babe.

-AH