Thursday, August 30, 2018

Operation Finale - Review

World War II is a fascinating period in history, and Hollywood is determined to make sure the public never forgets that through various stories of war and survival. However, the time after the war, the fallout of the atrocities committed has remained relatively untouched. With Operation Finale, audiences are able to see the man responsible brought to justice in a mission that is almost as compelling as the conflict itself.

Fifteen years after the end of World War II, a team of top-secret Israeli agents travels to Argentina to track down Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the Nazi officer who masterminded the transportation logistics that brought millions of innocent Jews to their deaths in concentration camps. Hoping to sneak him out of the country to stand trial, agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) soon finds himself playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the notorious war criminal.

It goes without saying, as many would assume anyway, that Kingsley and Isaac are the strengths of the film. Both men bring their remarkable talents to their respective roles. Kingsley has proven his range in the past, but his ability to mask the sinister nature of Eichmann just below the surface is noteworthy. On the other side, Oscar Isaac continues to add to his resume of middling historical films where his performance is stronger than the material. Isaac portrays Malkin as someone clearly in pain at the mere presence of a man with some responsibility for his sister’s death, but puts the mission above all else. 

Beyond the two leads stepping up to the plate, everything else in Operation Finale
is incredibly disjointed. Various and seemingly insignificant subplots are introduced and then left behind, the supporting members go back and forth on their various levels of importance to the mission, and the tension never quite lands the way the filmmakers likely intended. There are plenty of obstacles in the way of an already complicated mission to warrant the two-hour runtime, but something is missing that would truly make this a memorable film. 

Operation Finale is not a bad film. In fact, premiere it on the History Channel on a Sunday evening and people might even praise it a bit more. However, a cinematic release that lacks in tension and contains numerous jumbled story elements, and this is a film that will come and go without little mention until a high school social studies teacher decides to use this in a lesson down the line. 

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