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The Atlantic talks ideas with THE DEBT John Madden

Focus Features 09.09.2011

On The Atlantic Magazine site, THE DEBT director John Madden speaks with Robert Levin about his thriller relates to the world we live in now. At one point Madden address why a thriller is the perfect genre to engage in larger political and philosophical issues:

It's I suppose slightly a throwback as a thriller, [a] throwback to the kind of '70s movies where psychological development, emotional complication and even, God forbid, moral complication were a necessary part of telling a story, telling a thriller. Nowadays, we tend to create divergent paths where thrillers these days are more about effects and a sort of distillation of the genre elements that make a thriller. You could elevate the notion of a chase right into an entire movie and do something quite brilliant with it, but the psychology is relatively simple.

That was not where we were, nor, I hasten to add, were the original filmmakers who made Ha-Hov [The Debt's Hebrew title] in that world. The film then deserved to be told as a thriller, because of the nature of its central conceit--obviously the pursuit in the highly charged, jeopardized circumstances of East Berlin and those complications and dealing with a man who was so stigmatized and so forth, naturally you want to tell that story in a certain way. ... The characters as a whole are teetering on the edge of panic almost all the time when you see them in the movie and that just suggests a certain way of telling it.