Monday, March 19, 2012

Language barrier

In keeping with our standard practice of seeing movies on pay-per-view some 6-9 months after they came out, we watched The Debt, a fictional story about three Mossad agents capturing a Nazi war criminal in the 1960s and what happens thereafter. After a very interesting start, I ended up disappointed.

While many critics thought that its final part goes off the rails, a view with which I agree, I thought the film's decline began earlier, specifically the scene in which the agent named Rachel is stunned to find that their captive understands and speaks their language. We hear that language as English, which raises two possibilities: (1) These are very stupid agents, who don't know that many Germans speak English; or (2) the English is just a cinematic stand-in for the Hebrew they're speaking, in which case it really is surprising that the captive Nazi is fluent in it, and some kind of explanation or speculation is in order.

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