This is the story about three Israeli agents that try to kidnap a Nazi war criminal, hiding out in East Berlin, and what happens when the kidnapping goes wrong. Helen Mirren plays the lead role of Rachel Singer who is a celebrated hero in current times due to her participation in the Mossad mission during the sixties. She was part of a three-person team who went into East Berlin to extract a Nazi war criminal to bring him to trial. On the mission with her, were two other young agents, Stephan Gold (played by Marton Csokas) and David Peretz (played by Sam Worthington).
Click here to see the rest of this review
While planning for the mission in East Berlin, Rachel has an affair with both of the men. They fight over her. However; when the time comes, they succeed in capturing their target, who is Doctor Bernhardt, also known as the surgeon of Birkenau (played by Jesper Christensen). Their plans fall apart when the try to extract him from East Germany by train, so they bring him back to their apartment to hold him hostage until they can make other plans. Even though he is captive, the doctor manipulates them with mind games until his captors fight with each other giving him an opportunity to escape. In the escape, the doctor injures Rachel by cutting her face with a piece of broken china. He fights with her, knocks her unconscious, and gets away. The three young agents agree amongst themselves to lie about what happened and say that Rachel killed the doctor as he escaped. This is why Rachel is a hero in Israel.
We find out that Stephan married Rachel. They had a daughter who writes a book about the story that becomes popular. They are no longer together and they have another secret in that they both know the daughter is the child of David and Rachel not Stephan.
Thirty years later, David comes back into the lives of both Stephan and Rachel. He tells Rachel he has spent thirty years looking for the doctor, traveling all over the world. David asks Rachel if he told her where the doctor is, would she agree to tell the truth. Rachel says no, she would kill the doctor instead. Stephan finds out a man claiming to be the doctor, who is a mental patient in a Russian hospital, is meeting with a journalist to tell the true story. David kills himself rather than participate in an assassination because all he ever wanted was to bring the war criminal to a court in Israel for trial, not become a murderer himself. Stephan asks Rachel to go kill the doctor. Stephan is in a wheelchair and cannot do it.
Rachel goes on a mission to find the doctor and kill him. When she gets to the mental hospital, she finds the patient who on that day will get an interview with the press. The journalist is in the lobby waiting to see him, so Rachel must make a quick decision. She almost kills the old man from behind with a lethal injection, but then she sees his face. It is not the doctor! Overcome with guilt, she hand-writes a note telling the true story, asking the reporter to publish it. She leaves it in the room, where the journalist will find it, we he speaks with the man falsely claiming to be the doctor. As she is leaving, she sees a man that looks like the doctor. She follows him. When she catches him, he attacks her. This is the real doctor who the other mental patient is claiming to be. The doctor attacks her with a knife, smashes her into a mirror, which breaks into many pieces, then stabs her. She stabs him with a piece of broken glass. He stabs her again. They wrestle on the floor. He gets up, walks away, leaving her for dead, but he does not get very far because she has put the lethal injection into his back. He dies on the spot in the hallway.
In the room with the patient falsely claiming to be the doctor, the journalist finds the note written by Rachel, revealing the truth.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the two different times of the sixties and thirty years later, because it is very interesting to see how the characters have changed over so many years and what has happened to them.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when the older Rachel and the old doctor struggle physically on the floor. It is fun to see two old geezers fighting like that.
Opinion about the main character:
When Rachel finally has her chance to kill the doctor, (even she is mistaken and it is the wrong person), she decides not to go through with it and to tell the truth instead. This is what David wanted, so this means David did not love her in vain. In addition, she gets to kill the real doctor later, because the doctor gives her no choice when he attacks her.