It’s with great sadness that the Holocaust is still relevant today and that it will never be forgotten. It was a dark time in history that saw millions of lives be brutally taken away. This is based in not only the fact that this extreme and abhorrent violence occurred, but also facing the possibility that the perpetrators who orchestrated this got away and lived a free life. Operation Finale is one of those stories that strives to see true justice served for the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The search and subsequent capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, is the plot of this film. It’s well-acted and executed, however, I would’ve wanted more than the end result we’re given.
The Mossad is the National Intelligence Agency of Israel who specialize in counter-intelligence, covert operations and counterterrorism. This is the agency that brought Eichmann to justice, but the search for him started before they became involved in the manhunt. It’s 1960 and the Cold War is still brewing. Governments all over the world are busy and the hunt for escaped Nazis is wearing thin. They don’t pose as much of a threat as with what’s happening around the world. A possible sighting of Eichmann is still speculated when a young girl happens to be dating a man in Argentina who bears the same last name. He claims that he lives with his Uncle and that his father died in WWII. He makes a mistake by calling his Uncle “Father” when the young lady meets him. The Mossad is contacted and through a series of confirmations are dispatched to Argentina to survey, confirm and capture Eichmann.
Operation Finale is filled with a stellar cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Lior Raz, Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll and Joe Alwyn. As the film progress, we see the tension of the Mossad attempting to locate and confirm the identity of a man known as “Ricardo Klement”. Is this person really Eichmann? The audience is taken on a journey that is built on spy territory but doesn’t fall into an action spectacle. This movie isn’t interested in enthralling the audience with guns, car chases and fight scenes. This is a carefully executed film that focuses on the mission at hand- to bring down a major Nazi figure who has eluded capture for over fifteen years.
Director Chris Weitz (A Better Life) brings us to the 1960s of Argentina. They are celebrating their 150-year anniversary of independence. The cars, the attire and the style are all there. The screenplay by Matthew Orton (in his debut) crafts a smart script but left me wanting more when compared to the real story. There are some irregularities between the real-life incident, but besides that there are some great moments that make the movie move along well. Ben Kingsley, who portrays Eichmann, does decent work; nothing in comparison to Schindler’s List, but he has a moment where the facade of Eichmann comes off in a conversation between him and Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac). It’s a pivotal moment in the film and one that breathes fear and rage. It’s wonderful. The film may feel slow to most audience members who may think this is your typical thriller. Don’t be fooled, it does work but doesn’t have the flare you think it might have.
Verdict 3 out of 5
The real-life story is fascinating and one that inspires other stories to be told; however, Operation Finale doesn’t reach the height of amazing. It works in examining the hunt to capture this man, but that’s about it. Eichmann does express his views while talking to Peter Malkin but nothing is hardly mentioned when he’s brought to trial and I think that could’ve enticed some truly great moments considering that the trial itself was a massive deal, broadcasted all over the world for the first time since the Nuremburg Trials. Operation Finale is best as a quiet, subtle drama but doesn’t distinguish itself to make this mission worthy of repeated viewing. I’d recommend a documentary of the man himself as you’ll get more information and a story that is truly worth re-watching multiple times.