Sometimes a film seems to have everything going for it and still comes up short; such is the case with The Debt. Its credentials are impeccable: a fine cast headed by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Jessica Chastain, just for starters, directed by John Madden, and written by three talented Brits, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, and Peter Straughan.
This is a retread of an Israeli film, Ha-Hov, so presumably the English-language team had a solid blueprint to follow. Yet, as we’ve seen time and time again, the strength of —
Sometimes one can admire a film without truly liking it; that’s how I feel about the ambitious British remake of Brighton Rock. Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, first filmed in the late 1940s, has been cleverly reworked to take place in 1964, at the time of the “mods and rockers” riots in Brighton, signifying a time of change in England. That is just one of many clever moves by writer-director Rowan Joffe, who is able to explore some of the seamier aspects of the novel that censorship (and matters of taste) made impossible in 1947.
One of the new movie’s great strengths is its—
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