STEPHEN DORFF SHINES
Film Review by Fiore
Stephen Dorff, who hasn’t been a major screen presence since BLADE, is actually quite good in THE DEBT, a film highlighting greed and corruption on multiple levels of the socioeconomic scale. It is customary for filmmakers to place big corporations and the wealthy who run them in the role of antagonist. The irony, of course, is the very system these filmmakers rail against is the system under which their own industry strives.
Writer and Director Barney Elliott shows in THE DEBT how the attitude of acquisition driving the wealthy, also drives all layers of society; from the nurse who will do anything to achieve tranquility in her home, to a village uniting to ostracize one of its own members, to the corporate head who mistrusts his most valued employee. It is a sobering reflection on the baser survival and self-indulgent needs of mankind.
Dorff plays Oliver Campbell, a top bond acquisition manager for a generic, but successful company, run by Nathan, played by David Strathairn. He is aghast when told a $60 million dollar deal he brokered, and could double, must be eliminated. His quest to discover why his hard work is going for naught brings him, and his best friend, Ricardo, played by Alberto Ammann, into conflict with Peruvian magnate Ruben Caravedo, played by Carlos Bardem. During their search, lives and legs will be lost, deception and mistrust will be uncovered, and a scathing rebuke on the health care systems Michael Moore and other libs constantly praise will be excoriated
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. The operation dilemma.
2. Closing the deal.
3. The attempted seduction.
THE DEBT takes patience. Elliott structures his script as a meandering series of vignettes, with no connecting factor until the film’s final reels. It makes for difficult viewing; the characters will eventually congregate, but the process of arriving is confusing and laborious.
Elliott stated while he is generally in favor of globalization, he fears the word “is occasionally used by the wealthy and powerful to lend an aura of virtue to modern-day imperialism.” He certainly is not wrong; in fact, the entire globalization agenda is intended only to make a select few wealthier while subjugating the masses. It is refreshing, however, that Elliott presents the elite of Peru as the imperialists, and not Americans, as is so often the case. He reveals imperialism is centered more on individuals, rather than nations, and as such is truly global in nature.
THE DEBT is an interesting view for the performance of Dorff and Marco Antonio Ramirez, who plays Diego Gamarra, a young boy with a tragic fascination with helicopters. The treachery of other countries, and the poor victims, too often portrayed as saintly, is refreshing; however, the ending is predictable and largely inconclusive. The ramifications of a noble deed left lingering somewhere behind the end credits.
THE GRADE FOR THE DEBT = C