Director: John Madden
Writers: Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Jane Goldman (screenplay), Peter Straughan (screenplay), Assaf Bernstein (film “Ha-Hov”), Ido Rosenblum (film “Ha-Hov”)
Running Time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release Date: 30th September 2011
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 4th August 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember seeing a trailer for this at the cinema all the way back in 2010 but it never seemed to appear! It did, of course, finally get a release but was (as far as I know) not all that well received. The trailer had done its work on me though and I remembered it when I saw it land in the TV listings. It’s an interesting film that has both good and bad parts. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.
When a Mossad team is sent to East Berlin in 1965 to find and bring back a Nazi war criminal, they begin a train of events that will follow them for many years to come. The team consists of Rachel Singer, Stephan Gold and David Peretz. Their target is a man who calls himself Doktor Bernhardt, who is in reality Dieter Vogel; the notorious ‘Surgeon of Birkeanu’. The action switches between 1997 and 1965 as we are told of the events in Berlin in flashback. The results of these events have long-reaching and very different effects on the three members of the team. I really don’t want to say any more or I may give too much away (and the Spoiler Police wouldn’t like that!).
A very well made film which I found notable for the performances of those involved. With the action being split between two timelines there are two actors for each of the main parts; Helen Mirren was excellent as Rachel Singer (1997) and I thought Jessica Chastain was equally good in the same part circa 1965. Tom Wilkinson was great (as ever) as Stephan Gold (1997) with Marton Csokas doing a fine job in 1965. Finally there’s Ciarán Hinds who did a good job as David Peretz (1997) and Sam Worthington did an excellent job as the 1965 version. I should also give a mention to Jesper Christensen who did a great job as Doktor Bernhardt / Dieter Vogel.
Based on the Israeli film, “Ha-Hov” (which I haven’t seen), I could see parallels with the Steven Spielberg film “Munich”. Surprisingly, there is a long section of the film that concentrates on the events in Berlin which I thought was maybe a bit too long. There needed to be (IMO) a little more grounding in 1997 as that is where the film ends. Having said that, I did find this tale quite gripping with an unexpected outcome. I liked the way certain details were kept from the audience until the action switched to 1997. Over all, an interesting drama/thriller with some great performances; I just felt it needed a little more… Still, worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.
My Score 7.1/10
IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 28,779 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 65/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 67/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 30,552 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Young David: Here you are a Mossad agent, all those years of training, the highest levels of marksmanship and krav maga, and your first big mission is sewing.
Young Rachel: Black belt in dressmaking.
[brandishing a pin]
Young David: I never argue with an armed woman.
Young Rachel: [stabs him with the pin]