Tel Aviv, Israel. 1966. We open on a airplane whose hangar doors is opening. A woman and two men stand at the hatch, not saying a word. They are Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain), David Peretz (Sam Worthington), and Stephan Gold (Martin Csokas). "Breathe." Stephan tells the others as they step off the plane. We notice that Rachel has a bandage on her face (important later).
A voice tells us the three were Mossad agents sent to capture Dieter Vogel, "The Surgeon of Birkeanu", a Nazi war criminal. They were all young. Stephan was the youngest unit commander in Israel military history. David had his 29th birthday during the mission. Rachel was only 25 when she joined the fateful mission.
We cut to a ballroom where the woman is speaking. She tells the group that the three were unable to bring back the man and he wound up dead trying to escape. There is an older woman in the audience with a scar on her face. It is Rachel Singer (older version played by Helen Mirren). The woman speaking is her daughter Sara. Sara has written a book about her mother's mission. The crowd applauds, and Sara tells her mother that she is so proud to be her daughter.
Cut to an apartment complex. A man knocks on a door, and a man opens the door. It is the older David (played by Ciaran Hinds). The man tells David he was expecting him. David walks out with him to a car. He looks to a nearby car and sees a man. It is Stephan (played by Tom Wilikinson). The man asks David if everything is all right, and David mutters everything is fine. Without warning, David runs into traffic and lets himself be run over by a large truck. Stephan watches in horror.
Back at the book release party, Rachel shares a table with her daughter. They want her to read a excerpt from the book. When one of Sara's friends ask if Rachel helped with the book, Sara says no. Her father helped her with the details. Sara's father shows up. It is Stephan. The group applauds the two heroes, and Rachel stands up to read from the book.
New Years Eve 1965. Rachel is in an apartment in Berlin listening to the fireworks outside. The apartment walls leaks so she places pots to catch the water. Nearby there is a man chained to the wall. Rachel goes back to the kitchen but hears the water plopping on the pan strangely. She goes back into the room only to find the man gone. Suddenly, he comes out of nowhere and attacks her, slashing her face with a piece of plate. They struggle, and the man knocks her off, before leaving the apartment. Rachel drags herself on the ground, toppling a chair that had a coat. In the coat was a pistol. She dragged herself to the balcony just as the man tried to go down the alleyway. She fired one shot, killing him. The man was Dieter Vogel.
Later that night, Rachel and Stephan (who apparently divorced years ago and not on good terms) are in a car talking. Stephan says he knows David came to see Rachel a day ago and wants to know what he said. Rachel said he had been traveling a lot and not much else. Stephan presses the issue, and Rachel says he should talk to David if he wants to know what he said. Stephan lets his silence be the response. Rachel realizes that David is dead.
They go to David's apartment Rachel wonders why David would kill himself. Rachel goes into another room and breaks down crying over the loss of David.
The next day the two of them meet at the beach with Sara's family. Stephan hands her an envelope and a case and tells her to handle it. She waves to her daughter and leaves for the airport. Her passport has her photo of when she was young.
Berlin 1965. Rachel crosses over to East Berlin and meets up with David. They are posing as husband and wife for the mission. They rendezvous with Stephan at the apartment. Their mission is to locate The Surgeon, capture him, then smuggle him out of Germany so he can stand trial in Israel. Stephan and David share a room, while Rachel bunks alone.
Rachel, David, and Stephan train, taking turns sparring with each other, practicing disarming techniques. Rachel discusses her cover story, making sure she has it down.
Later that night, Stephan talks to David about women. He notes he never saw David look at a woman, not even Rachel. Stephan asks if he should know something (like if David is gay). They see Rachel come out of the shower, wearing only a towel. David stares. "I guess you looked now." Stephan says.
Back at David's apartment in the present day, Stephan shows Rachel an article. A man in the mental institution claims to be The Surgeon. Stephan says they need to handle it. He asked for David's help but he wouldn't give it. Rachel slaps Stephan and yells at him. He knew David had been ill for years. Rachel leaves the apartment.
Back in Berlin, 1965, Rachel and David go to a local ob-gyn clinic and wait for Rachel to have an appointment. She is pretending that she is having trouble conceiving with her husband to justify the visits. The doctor, Bernhardt comes in and asks her about her family fertility history. When she reveals she is an only child, the doctor says that may be a potential sign of infertility. Rachel tells him that her mother died in WWII. "My poor child." he says. Rachel takes pictures with a camera hidden in her necklace as he works. The doctor is supposedly the man they are looking for.
Stephan hands the necklace off to another agent on a bus.
Stephan and David take a walk near an abandoned train station. It has been closed to the public and is guarded around the clock by armed guards. Their plan is to knock the doctor out, and then put him on one of the trains that pass through. Their is a postal service that is right by the tracks so they will steal one of the vans so they can get close without anyone suspecting anything. Since trains are not allowed to stop there, they will have one of their agents on the train cause a distraction so they can slip on undetected. All they need is confirmation that the doctor is The Surgeon.
David and Stephan steal a postal van for their crucial blending in at the train station.
Stephan does another hand off with an agent on the bus. It is the confirmation they were hoping for. They are authorized to proceed.
David reveals it is his 29th birthday. They go to the bar and celebrate. Rachel asks what he wants out of life. David tells them he wants to get this war criminal back to Israel so the world can see what he has done. They will know the truth. David is a man of honor and truth.
The next night, David watches Rachel get out of the shower. She stands by a nearby heater to dry herself. David tells her she is brave. Rachel scoffs at the statement saying she is scared. "But you do it anyway, because it is the right thing to do." David says. They stare at each other and lean in to kiss. David pulls away, realizing he is losing objectivity. Rachel is crushed.
Later, she plays the piano and cries. David is the kitchen going over paperwork, unable to concentrate. Stephan comes in and joins Rachel. He tells her she is so beautiful. Rachel lets herself be seduced by him and the next morning it is clear they slept together. Rachel and David go back to the obgyn holding hands, though they seemed strained by it.
Rachel goes back to the doctor. The doctor notes she had sex, and says that is good that she is trying. Rachel then reveals that she knows who he "really" is. Bernhardt/Vogel has no time to react. Rachel uses her legs to put him in a headlock then stabs him with a concealed syringe to knock him out. Rachel screams for the nurse, pretending that Bernhardt/Vogel had a heart attack. The nurse calls 911, but Stephan hacked the phone line, and knows she has called. He and David drive off in an ambulance to beat the real paramedics to the punch. The nurse reveals on the call that Bernhardt/Vogel is her husband. Rachel is stunned by the implication.
David and Stephan come in and wheel Vogel away, telling his wife she cannot ride along due to regulations. Rachel leaves and is picked up by them down the block. They get ready to finish the mission.
The trio set up at the postal office, using the passing trains as cover to cut at the fence so they can slip through.
Vogel is tied up in the van. He starts to move. The drugs are wearing off.
Stephan and David are almost through when they see an employee come out for a smoke. Rachel goes out and flirts with him to distract him. David and Stephan continue to cut through the fence.
Vogel gets up and honks the horn just as the trio's train ride out stops and claims something is on the tracks. Stephan knocks Vogel out but it is too late. The guards are spooked by the horn and go to investigate. Rachel tries to play it cool. Stephan says they need to get Vogel on the train but David will not leave without Rachel. The guards see the cut fence. All hell breaks loose. Rachel is force to knock out the man and the nearby guards, catching the attention of all of them. They are forced to shoot back at the guards. The three get into the van and drive off into the night.
Stephan is losing his mind since they missed the drop saying they have failed the mission and their country. David is more calm, saying since they still have Vogel the mission is not over. They just need a new plan.
Back at the apartment they determine the terms of the plan. They will keep Vogel locked up. They will take shifts to guard him and feed him every shift. Since Rachel has been seen, she is forbidden from leaving the apartment.
Vogel speaks to Rachel asking if his wife is okay. Rachel doesn't respond but eventually gives him a nod that she is okay. Stephan warns her not to speak to him because he can get into their heads.
Over the next few days, they take turns watching him. Vogel is defiant, routinely spitting up food and trying to fight David and Stephan. He is more calmer with Rachel. One day he tells her he knows she wasn't lying about her mother dying in war. He tells her he is sorry for her pain. Rachel is unnerved by this.
David comes back in as Rachel leaves the room where Vogel is. Rachel asks him why he didn't leave when he had the chance. David looks at her and kisses her. He stayed for her. Rachel looks at him stunned, then kisses him back. They are interrupted by Stephan. Stephan tells them the Americans have agreed to help. They just need to wait it out a few more days.
A few more days pass and Rachel is getting more stricken with cabin fever. Stephan comes in and said the Americans have decided not to help. They are screwed. Rachel goes for the door, needing air, but they will not let her leave. She falls to the floor and cries.
The three attempt to plan their next move. Stephan says they should just kill Vogel. David says they are not monsters and he has to go back to stand trial. There is a knock at the door. They think Stephan was followed. Rachel answers and Stephan stays with a gun to Vogel, saying if it is one of his friends, he will die first. Rachel comes back in. It was just their neighbor, inviting them to a new years party.
David is feeding Vogel. Vogel taunts him about Rachel being with Stephan, saying it does not fit. She should be with David as David would want a family. Vogel then drops a bombshell; he knows Rachel is two months pregnant and Stephan is the father. David tries to hold in his rage. Vogel goes on about how Jews are inherently selfish and how four armed men in death camps could lead thousands to die because one would not sacrifice themselves for others. Vogel said in that moment of realization he knew their kind did not deserve to live. David, overcome with rage, smashes a plate over Vogel's face and starts punching him. Stephan finds him and pulls him away.
Vogel was able to grab a plate shard and starts cutting at the ropes that hold him. Rachel cleans him up and the mess unaware of this.
We now return to the scene that Rachel read from her daughters book. It plays almost the same way. Vogel got free, scarred her face and knocked her out. Only one problem. In reality, Rachel never killed him. Vogel got away.
David and Stephan return and find out what happened. Stephan is freaked of the implication of losing a war criminal like this and how they will be punished. David and Rachel agree to take blame. Suddenly, Stephan gets an idea. They will lie. They will say Vogel tried to escape and they killed him. Stephan reasons that they need to save face for Israel. Besides, Vogel will never resurface and spend the rest of his life in fear of being killed. David agrees to lie. Rachel is shocked that he would given his moral code but eventually gives in as well. They have been covering it up for 30 years, lying about heroism they never did.
We go back to the scene at the beach in 1997. Rachel and Stephan are talking. Stephan tells her that Vogel is at a hospital. He doesn't know where but a reporter in the Ukraine does. She will need to break in and find out the location. Stephan looks at her. "If I could go back I would change it all." Stephan looks at their daughter. "Everything but one."
Israel, 1970. Stephan and Rachel are having a dinner party. David is there. Rachel tells him Stephan has a lot of "girlfriends" and he uses them to punish her. When David asks why, Rachel says for several reasons. Because she got pregnant. Because she doesn't love Stephan. "Because of you." She tells David.
David tells her that he is leaving the country tonight. Rachel is shocked but David says he cannot lie anymore. He pleads for her to come with him. Rachel says she can't (probably afraid to leave her daughter) but David presses for her to do so (he would take care both of them). Rachel says no and is momentarily distracted by Stephan. David leaves, dejected. That is the last time she will see him for almost thirty years.
Back in the present, Rachel has reached the Ukraine and the newspaper office. She pretends to post a classified ad and notes the security code. After the places closes, she picks the lock and disarms the alarm. She goes to the reporter's desk and finds the information she is looking for. A couple of reporters come in and she has to hide and listen to them have sex until they leave.
Rachel thinks about seeing David the day before he killed himself. He attended one of her speeches. David asks if she has been with anyone after Stephan. Rachel tells him there was someone else but "he left." (meaning him). David tells her he has been traveling the past 25 years looking for Vogel. Rachel is shocked, asking what he would of done if he found him. David said he would of brought him to trial and told the truth, thinking she would do the same. Rachel tells him she would not; her daughter would be crushed not just professionally but personally by the truth about her mother. David goes to leave but asks if they could go back and he had waited for her, would she of came with him. "We can't go back." Rachel states, leaving.
Rachel goes to the hospital and waits in reception. The reporter comes and she overhears the room number where Vogel is apparently at. She travels to the room, number 414. She stops in the bathroom and opens the glasses case Stephan gave her. It was a syringe with poison. She goes into Vogel's room to administer the poison into his IV but doesn't. He starts to speak to her thinking she is the reporter, but Rachel senses something is off about it. She sits down and starts writing a note on a piece of paper.
Rachel calls Stephan and says it was the wrong guy. The old man had been fed the stories and is so senile he is just repeating them. Stephan is relieved that they didn't have to kill anyone. Rachel tells him that David committed suicide not because the truth was going to be revealed. He did it because he didn't want to lie anymore. In addition, he looked to her for the approval to tell the truth and she denied him. Being denied that by the woman he loved broke him. He couldn't take it anymore. Rachel just wants her daughter to be proud of her for something she actually did. Rachel decides to tell the truth. Stephan tells her not to but she hangs up the phone. Stephan stares off, realizing the powder keg that is about to explode.
Rachel is about to leave when she sees a man on the staircase stare at her. She looks back to see him gone. She has been recognized. She gives chase and finds the man in the bathroom. It is Vogel. He has been feeding his stories of the crimes he committed to a senile man in the ultimate ploy to get out of punishment. He pretends to be incoherent to get close to Rachel, only to stab her with a pair of scissors. They struggle, and she stabs him with a piece of broken mirror. Vogel stabs her again, and leaves her in the bathroom to die.
Vogel takes a few steps then falls to the ground dead. In the struggle, Rachel stabbed him with the poison syringe. She is wounded badly but is able to pick herself up and limp out of the building.
The reporter is finishing up with the fake Vogel when he sees Rachel's note. It tells him who she is, and the truth about what happened in 1966. The three had held the truth in for so long. It is now time for it to be told.
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