Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
The word “debt” immediately brings to mind stacks of bills marked past due and a bright red bank balance preceded by a negative sign. In Writer/Director Barney Elliot’s new Movie, The Debt, financial debts are least of his characters’ worries: the obligations of karmic and moral debt weigh much heavier in these three intersecting storylines.
Oliver Campbell (Stephen Dorff) has devoted the last two years of his life to engineering a land deal in Peru with his best friend and Peruvian local, Ricardo (Alberto Ammann). Despite the fact his personal life is falling apart, Oliver heads back to Lima when his boss (played by David Strathairn) threatens to dissolve the deal unless he can convince businessman Rubén Carvedo (Carlos Bardem) to sign on the dotted line. In order to get Carvedo on board, Oliver must convince landowner Florentino Gamarra (Amiel Cayo) to give up his ties to the land and agree to sign over the deed to his property. Despite protestations from his friend, Oliver soon realizes there are few lines he is unwilling to cross to accomplish his goals.
The final and weakest storyline involves Mariá Ruiz (Elsa Olivero) and her single-minded quest to arrange surgery for her mother who suffers from painfully debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis. She too is forced to make difficult moral and ethical decisions in order to help her mother.
Audiences will find themselves rooting for the youngest member of the cast, Diego (Marco Antonio Ramírez) who, in his role as Florentino’s son, is the true heart of this Movie about adults who frequently confuse honour with ego.
Although extreme, the moral dilemmas faced by the characters in The Debt are relatable and universal. Despite being burdened by its structure of overly drawn-out narratives that take too long to intersect, this award winning, subtitled Movie is certain to attract audiences.
levelFilm release THE DEBT on Friday, July 8, 2016.
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