THRILLER; 1hr 53min
STARRING: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson, Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds
Haunted: Hinds and Mirren
“Maybe it’s not always a blessing to survive,” Mossad agent Stephan Gold (Csokas) observes to colleague Rachel Singer (Chastain) of the burdens carried by fellow agent David Peretz (Worthington), whose family died in the Holocaust. It’s 1965 and the three are on a mission in East Berlin. Their quarry is Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), the so-called “Surgeon of Birkenau”, responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Jews and now practising as a gynaecologist.
While celebrated as a success, the mission does not, in fact, go to plan and 30 years later, the now-retired agents (played by Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds) are variously scarred by what happened.
Shakespeare in Love director John Madden’s unguessable, engrossing remake of the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov delves into how one misstep can fracture the structure of a plan and with it the psyches of those involved. Each actor has a rich and vital part to play, both when everything comes crashing down and later when the consequences rise up to torment and punish. Truth as luxury or liberation? It demands to be reckoned with, either way.