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.