REVIEW: ‘Operation Finale’ is short on action, but delivers a well-acted drama

Alex Novak

“Operation Finale” provides insight into the capturing of one of the most notorious Nazi war generals, but it fails to offer a shot of the intensity that other spy-genre thriller films generally contain.

The trailer marketed the film as an action-packed thriller but instead became overwhelmed with political drama, missing multiple opportunities for gripping action scenes and further enhancing scenes that already have it.

The plot is set during the end of World War II, when some leaders and members of Nazi Germany, including Adolf Hitler, escaped inevitably paying for their war crimes against humanity by taking their own lives.

One instrumental piece of the Nazis’ vile political machine to eradicate all Jewish people living in Germany — called the Final Solution — was Adolf Eichmann, played by Ben Kingsley, who escaped illegally under multiple aliases to Argentina.

The story focuses on a group of Jewish Mossad agents led by Peter Malkin, played by Oscar Isaac, attempting to track down and extradite Eichmann from Buenos Aires for a trial in Israel.

Behind the eyes of the Argentine police force, a community full of ex-Nazi soldiers and Eichmann’s own family, the team successfully captures Eichmann, but it proceeds to encounter more setbacks than it could have expected.

To narrowly flee the authorities to bring forth justice, the entire team must keep its mind focused on the task at hand — extraditing Eichmann — and not with its personal hatred of him as he slyly attempts to convince the team of his innocence.

Eichmann renounced the idea of his eventual fate of accepting being charged with the sole responsibility for the Final Solution, stating he was nothing more than a cog in the Nazi machine.

Ultimately, Eichmann revealed his true self  — a man who relished in the role of overseeing the murder of millions of Jewish people. Eichmann reiterates throughout the film the murdering of Jews was not his choice alone, but he clearly felt little to no remorse for being apart of it. He deserved much of the blame he received because of his willingness to participate in such a horrific crime.

A multitude of people were surely responsible for the Holocaust, but society seeks out or is sometimes simply given an opportunity at a scapegoat, and Eichmann wanted to avoid any possibility of that happening to him.

Although the director, Chris Weitz, kept in mind the historical accuracy of the film and the acting was a highlight of the experience, the absence of action left me wanting more. Particularly with some odd editing choices in a few sequences that cloud the plot, along with a repetitive musical score that didn’t capture suspense, the film didn’t live up to its genre.

With terrific performances especially from Isaac and Kingsley, it provokes viewers’ thoughts and allows them to reflect on history as they follow Eichmann through his testimony of crimes he committed during the Holocaust.

Films about historical tragedies will always hold a place in the world of cinema, and “Operation Finale” is no different.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].