The Most Discomfiting Sentence Uttered This Summer

This is my hand, and this is the speculum.


Chris Orr on The Debt:


Answers are provided in a film within the film, an unspooling of memory-tape: It's 1965 again, and Rachel (now played by Jessica Chastain), Stephan (Martin Csokas), and David (Sam Worthington) make their initial rendezvous in East Berlin--young, energetic, unclouded by remorse. The war criminal Vogel has been located, and it is their mission to bring him back across the Iron Curtain and to justice. 

This central sequence is the beating heart of the film: The callow agents, full of fear and ambition and longings they cannot quite name, crammed together in a dilapidated apartment, taking turns at the piano and at ju-jitsu practice. The boil of hormones is palpable, and before long a kiss--and more than a kiss--intended for one man is stolen by the other. 

 And then there is Vogel, now a gynecologist, whom Rachel visits repeatedly in the guise of a patient--a profoundly unsettling variation on the female spy who offers her body for her country. Vogel's gentle introduction to each session, "This is my hand, and this is the speculum," may at last have displaced the "Is it safe?" of Christian Szell--another Mengele stand-in--as the most discomfiting sentence ever uttered by doctor to patient onscreen.

Chris is kinda "Meh" on the film. I think I might see it just for Tom Wilkinson. I would shout out Helen Mirren, too, but that feels cliche.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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