TIFF: The Debt Pays Off

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The Debt is one of those rare cinematic experiences in 2010: a cracking good espionage thriller.

In a pace reminiscent of the 1960s and '70s (Three Days of the Condor, The Odessa File), the new movie directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) is a taut action movie with a moral center. It has the feel of movies directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist) or John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate). This is a big-budget adult treat.

The Debt stars Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Sam Worthington (Avatar). Mirren brought sexy back to middle age and worked the red carpet twice this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. Once for Brighton Rock (a film-noir gangster piece) and again for The Debt.

In The Debt, Mirren plays one of three undercover agents who must deal with a decades-old secret. It'll probably make a pretty big spash when it is released in December.