• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Operation Finale – The True Story of Hunting Down a Surviving Nazi Leader!

Operation Finale is directed by Chris Weitz. The film stars Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac.

Following the defeat of Germany in World War II in 1945, many surviving Nazis fled to Argentina. The highest ranking survivor was Adolf Eichmann, considered to be the “architect” responsible for Jews being loaded onto trains for the concentration camps where many of them met their end. In 1960, a strike team from Israel hatches a plot to invade Argentina to capture Eichmann and return him to Israel where he’ll stand trial for his war crimes. But with the Argentinian Independence Day celebration going on and other unexpected hurdles, our heroes must find creative ways to extract Eichmann without being discovered.

Like other films based on historical events, the end credits of Operation Finale claim that some events were changed for dramatic purposes and that some composite characters were created to represent the events in question. I personally can’t speak for how historically accurate Operation Finale is, but it’s a damn good thriller with a gripping plot and two fantastic leading men, even with a dragged out run time and underdeveloped supporting cast weigh it down.

 

 

Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron from the newer Star Wars films) starts as Peter Malkin, the man in charge of the team responsible for Eichmann’s extraction from Argentina. Isaac plays a relatable but flawed protagonist, made all the more human by the fact that he’s made mistakes in the past and doesn’t have the immediate support of his team. He has a tragic past in losing someone he cared about in the Holocaust, yet still brings a wry sense of humor to the forefront of the film on more than one occasion.

The other leading man is the legendary Ben Kingsley as Adolf Eichmann. Seriously, does the guy ever NOT give a great performance? His portrayal of Eichmann is one of the best things about the film, and the chemistry between him and Isaac’s Peter make for the movie’s best scenes. Living in Argentina under an assumed name, Kingsley’s Eichmann is the villain you love to hate. Smug, egotistical, and claiming he wanted to “help” the Jews (while the film shows footage of him being responsible for the slaughter of many of them), it’s a slimy portrayal which gives the true story its necessary villain. That a man who committed such atrocities can keep such a cool head despite his past is astonishing, and no one could’ve brought this infamous person to life like Kingsley.

The atmosphere of the film is equally impressive, recreating the past in period-appropriate clothing and locales. Alexandre Desplat’s score even has motifs which feel like something ripped out of a 1960s espionage thriller, which further lends a hand to the “period feel.” The look and feel of a historical drama is one of its most important elements, and I’m happy to announce Operation Finale certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite a perfect film. Isaac and Kingsley are the starts of the show, and all other characters/character arcs/subplots outside of them don’t really go anywhere or feel too well developed. One of the more interesting potential subplots revolves a girl who befriends Eichmann’s son but has a falling out with him, and it turns out she’s a spy who’s intel is instrumental in locating the Nazi. How did she come to be in the service of our heroes? Sadly, she’s mostly cast aside in the latter half of the film, and many other smaller plot elements like this end up wrongly neglected.

The other issue the movie has is with its pacing. At roughly an even two hours, it’s simply too long, with some repetitive scenes and portions which drag. A good 15 minutes of editing and removal of certain characters/subplots would’ve made for a more streamlined and effective thriller, though this is by no means a weak film.

Operation Finale isn’t a perfect movie, but the gripping true story and performances from Isaac and Kingsley make it worth heading to the theaters to see. Definitely recommended!

Rating: Three stars out of four.

 

DISCLAIMER: All images in the review are the property of their respective owners, including Automatik Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Annapurna Pictures. For promotional use only. All rights reserved.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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