Review of 'Operation Finale'

operation_finale.jpg In the years following the second world war Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel, learn that one of the architects of the Holocaust Adolf Eichmann (stunningly portrayed by Ben Kingsley) is living under an assumed name in Argentina where members of the government actively engage in pro-Nazi rhetoric. Mossad devise a plan to capture Eichmann and return him to Israel for a trial so they can have closure for their country as previous war criminals had been tried in international courts or those tried were done posthumously. Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) is asked to head up a group of agents who are tasked to bring Eichmann out alive…

An incredibly realised depiction of a troubling part of history made even more troubling with the persuasive and reasonable (seeming) arguments of Eichmann, continually stating that he was only ever doing his job. Kingsley's performance is stunning as the stone-cold Eichmann whose emotional manipulation befriends himself to Malkin as they are forced to delay their prisoner's departure from their hideout in Argentina. It is chilling to see how despite the war being over the Nazis were still very much a threat with many supporters living in countries such as these. How those countries harboured these people in deference to the world is shocking to the core.

This is a film that is not afraid to take it's time to tell every twist and turn of this story with the tension very much continually built up. The filmmaker's manage to accurately convey the uncertainty of the Mossad operation, one that was very much against the odds and fraught with danger. The simple framing of the scenes often concentrating on only one or two characters at a time without them uttering a word leads to the emotional tension that we feel throughout the film. The often dark and depressing atmosphere leaves us to our own thoughts perhaps to the point we doubt the mission these brave men and woman undertook. This is an amazing piece of film-making which I can only fault in that it feels slightly over-long in the time while Eichmann is being detained prior to removal from Argentina which never seems to end or go anywhere though does eventually deliver the required result. But this is really the only thing I can fault in what is otherwise an incredible film.

As might be expected, the end of the film contains details of the real story including footage of Eichmann's eight month trial.

Compelling and troubling depiction of one of humanities darkest hours and how those involved sought to rationalise the devastation they caused.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-08-11

Directed by: Chris Weitz

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 2018

Length: 122 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Chris Weitz: