OPERATION FINALE (NETFLIX) (2018)
SYNOPSIS: This thrilling true story follows the 1960 covert mission of legendary Mossad agent Peter Malkin as he infiltrates Argentina and captures Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who masterminded the transportation logistics that brought millions of innocent Jews to their deaths in concentration camps.
Adolf Eichmann was a high-ranking Nazi leader responsible for the logistics involved in the mass transportation of Jews to concentration camps. But with the end of World War II, Eichmann managed to live for years under a false name in Buenos Aires only to be captured by Mossad agents in 1960 and brought back to stand trial in Israel for his war crimes.
Operation Finale tells the heroic story of how a bunch of brave Mossad agents planned, kidnapped and sneaked out Eichmann on a commercial aircraft bound for Israel. The end result is a low-key historical based war drama which is definitely worth visiting despite the known outcome.
Star Wars and Ex Machina actor Oscar Isaac (who also donned a producer hat here) plays Peter Malkin, one of the key personnel sent to extract Eichmann. Malkin is setup to be an interesting figure. He lost her loving sister in the Holocaust, botched an operation earlier and has a love interest in the form of a doctor (played by French actress Melanie Laurent) who is later revealed to be recruited for the operation as well.
Together with Israeli actors Lior Raz, Ohad Knoller, American comedian Nick Kroll (a surprise departure) and a few others playing the rest of the team members, the agents set out to capture Eichmann who has been living under the radar as a mechanic working for Mercedes Benz and stayed in a modest house with his wife and sons in the countryside. Since it’s almost a prerequisite for a powerful actor to play the role of Adolf Eichmann, the “honour” goes to award-winning Brit thespian Ben Kingsley who did an excellent job portraying a real-life, manipulating devil.
While not in the league of similar real-life thrillers such as Argo, Valkyrie and Munich when it comes to riveting set pieces, Operation Finale has enough tension for the first hour to sustain the storytelling and mission. It’s only when everyone seems to stuck in the safe house waiting for Eichmann to sign off on a document that the movie starts to flounder. Despite Eichmann and Malkin’s best attempts to out-wit each other with mental and ahem.. toilet routine, the interrogation process simply don’t measure up in terms of intensity and complexity.
Well, we can blame that on first-time screenwriter Matthew Orton or director Chris Weitz who has done everything from American Pie to The Golden Compass to The Twilight Saga. But in all fairness, for a historical-based movie, without resorting to fancy explosions or too many unnecessary subplots, Operation Finale is still a reasonably well-conceived piece of work.
Review by Linus Tee