DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Operation Finale Movie Review

Operation Finale (2018) movie poster Operation Finale

Theatrical Release: August 29, 2018 / Running Time: 118 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Chris Weitz / Writer: Matthew Orton

Cast: Oscar Isaac (Peter Malkin), Ben Kingsley (Adolf Eichmann/Ricardo Clement), Mélanie Laurent (Hanna Regev), Lior Raz (Isser Harel), Nick Kroll (Rafi Eitan), Michael Aronov (Zvi Aharoni), Ohad Knoller (Ephraim Ilian), Greg Hill (Moshe Tabor), Toren Liebrecht (Yaakov Gat), Michael Benjamin Hernandez (Dani Shalom), Joe Alwyn (Klaus Eichmann), Greta Scacchi (Vera Eichmann), Peter Strauss (Lothar Hermann), Haley Lu Richardson (Sylvia Hermann), Pêpê Rapazote (Carlos Fuldner), Rainer Reiners (Fritz Bauer), Simon Russell Beale (David Ben-Gurion), Rocio Muñoz (Graciela), Rita Pauls (Fruma)


If you only had the title to go on, you might assume Operation Finale was some generic direct-to-video action movie. It's not. This drama from director Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass,
About a Boy) and first-time screenwriter Matthew Orton tells the true story of efforts by Israeli spies in the Mossad to track down Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi who handled transportation logistics for eliminating six million Jews in the Holocaust.

In 1960, Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) is one of the biggest Nazi war criminals at large. Rather than kill himself like Hitler or stand trial at Nuremberg like twenty-four additional leaders of the Third Reich, Eichmann has moved to Buenos Aires, where he lives a somewhat quiet life under an assumed name.

A pretty young woman (Haley Lu Richardson) catches the eye of a good-looking young man (Joe Alwyn) at an Argentine movie theater and it is that unlikely event that puts Eichmann on the Mossad's radars. The man is Eichmann's son and he has inherited his father's hatred of Jews, feelings he cultivates at a rally that makes his secretly Jewish new love interest more than a little uncomfortable.

The important thing for us is that the woman is able to get visual confirmation for the Israeli team swiftly assembled in South America, whose goal is not to kill Eichmann, the SS officer regarded as one of the key architects of the Nazis' so-called "Final Solution." No, the spies and officials are there to capture Eichmann alive and then bring him to Israel to stand trial there.

In "Operation Finale", Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) tries to persuade captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) to sign the document that will allow him to stand trial in 1960s Israel.

Most focal among our protagonists is Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac), who is more accustomed to capturing Nazi war criminals dead than alive. Like his fellow Jews, Malkin's lament of the Holocaust has a personal angle; he lost his beloved sister in a scene that continues to haunt him to this day.

The majority of the two-hour runtime goes not to tracking down Eichmann but to getting him to sign a document
that is needed to approve transferring him via airplane to Israel. While others try to break Eichmann's spirit, Malkin forms a kind of friendly bond with him to facilitate the signing of the document.

As an historical drama involving the aftermath of the Holocaust, you might expect Operation Finale to be austere, somber, and dry. Fortunately, it is not. Unfortunately, the tone that is ultimately chosen leaves plenty to be desired. Orton's screenplay aims to be slick and kind of funny, like "Mad Men" goes to Buenos Aires. It yields watchable results, but it doesn't feel right. Nor does the cat and mouse dance that Eichmann and Malkin's negotiations function as. Even with all the Holocaust movies made, Hollywood has largely shied away from depicting Hitler himself. That's not a figure we need to see personified and dramatized, no matter how strong the performance. Eichmann may very well not be a name you know, but the movie establishes him as a top-5 Nazi figure and that seems far too influential in far too heinous an event to have Kingsley portray him as a jocular safe house captive in a game of mental chess.

Kingsley and Isaac are talented actors and thus it's tough to place any blame on them for the discomforting nature of this material. But we're never on board with the film's characterizations. And the supporting notes of humor (Nick Kroll) and humanity (Mélanie Laurent) do not land gracefully. Furthermore, the antagonists' depiction as a kind of all-powerful coalition with motorcycles led by the Aryan wunderkind Klaus borders on ridiculous.

Previously dramatized in The Man Who Captured Eichmann, a 1996 TNT original movie starring Robert Duvall as Eichmann and Arliss Howard as Malkin, the story does certainly generate some historical interest, but the spotty execution does more to marginalize it than maximize it.

The timing of Operation Finale's release is quite telling. Not only is this historical drama released right before the unofficial start of the industry's long award season, but it's also released on what is the final week of Hollywood's "summer", a time when attendance is always low. While it's tough to imagine the film as is being a big draw at any time, it's especially curious to try to figure out what made MGM choose the final Wednesday in August to distribute only their second new movie in eight years, or why they opted to open in the film with a fairly substantial 1,800-theater count, presumably unwilling to wait for the possibility of good word of mouth.

Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: SearchingThe Little StrangerCrazy Rich AsiansJuliet, NakedAlpha
Oscar Isaac: The PromiseInside Llewyn DavisEx MachinaA Most Violent Year
Ben Kingsley: Learning to DriveThe WalkHugoIron Man 3A Common ManStonehearst Asylum
Man HuntZero Dark ThirtyAlliedFuryNight Train to Munich

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed August 28, 2018.

Text copyright 2018 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2018 Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films, Bazelevs.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.