Operation Finale Review


Cast: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Lior Raz, Melanie Laurent

Director: Chris Weitz

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Fifteen years after the end of World War II, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad and security agency Shin Bet – led by the tireless and heroic agent Peter Malkin (Isaac) – launched a daring top-secret raid to capture the notorious Eichmann (Kingsley), who had been reported dead in the chaos following Nazi Germany’s collapse but was, in fact, living and working in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina under an assumed identity along with his wife and two sons. Monitoring his daily routine, Malkin and his operatives plot and execute the abduction under the cover of darkness just a few feet from Eichmann’s home. Determined to sneak him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel, Malkin and Eichmann engage in an intense and gripping game of cat-and-mouse.


One of the things that has been sorely missing from this summer movie season is a good historical drama.  Operation Finale tackles the difficult subject of the capturing of former Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann (Kingsley) after he escaped justice in Europe and fled to Argentina.  As this is obviously a difficult subject to showcase and show from a truly accurate perspective, it would take highly trained actors and professionals to pull off such a unique story such as this one.  Powered by one of the strongest antagonistic performances of the year from Kingsley, Operation Finale is a strong, gripping, story that just happens to be about 15 minutes too long.

The film follows Peter Malkin (Isaac), a member of an Israeli special forces team that focuses on locating and extracting those who worked for the Nazis during World War II. When the team is informed of a lead regarding the location of Adolf Eichmann, one of the highest ranking Nazis still alive, Malkin and his team must travel to Argentina to extract Eichmann without being discovered by the Argentine government.  The key reason this movie is successful is due to the haunting performance of Kingsley as one of the most evil men in the history of mankind.  Not only can he successfully defend his cruel actions and his compliance in one of the worst atrocities ever committed, but even his daily actions with Malkin’s team are unsettling.  Watching Eichmann get fed was one of the creepiest scenes I have seen this year and this would not have been possible without the superb performance by Kingsley.  Kingsley has had a tough last couple of years when he was tied to projects that were either critically or financially panned, so it is good to see such a talented actor back in a role the suits his talents beautifully.  Outside of Kingsley, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Nick Kroll in this movie.  I was skeptical of his inclusion in this movie due to him having a comedy background and this being an incredibly serious movie, however Kroll makes the most of his time on-screen.  Kroll is still mainly used in a comedic role, but due to the stern nature of the film and these comedic moments being few and far between, they inject a sense of freshness into the film that was necessary to avoid being bored.  The only thing could be improved about the movie is that the ending stretched on far longer than necessary.  I saw an opportunity for the film to end when there was actually about 10 to 15 minutes left, and I felt as though that might have been the better place to end the movie.  Maybe one scene past that point could have been shown just before the film ended, but as soon as Malkin goes to enter the courtroom, the film could have ended and no one would have missed anything that came after that.  It is a minor flaw, but one that easily could have been picked up before the film’s release.

Overall, seeing as though this film had no competition this summer, it is a more than respectable historical drama that shows us a team of dedicated, talented individuals brought one of the most wanted war criminals of their era.  Chris Weitz is much more known for his work on comedies and young adult films, so to see him transition to something much more serious shows that he has the ability to successfully work within any genre.  This film is stacked with talented people from a variety of backgrounds, and as a result, we end up with a solid movie that is important to watch especially when you consider our own political turmoil that we are currently going through.

Overall Score: 6/10

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