Robinson: ‘Operation Finale’ a dark victory for film


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“Operation Finale” tells a dramatic story about a team of Israeli Mossad agents who hunt down the infamous Nazi officer, Adolf Eichmann, and sneak him out of Argentina into Israel to stand trial for his war crimes in WWII.

The historically-based film falls within the context of a postwar narrative. After WWII, a large number of high-ranking Nazis were brought to trial at Nuremberg in 1945. Disagreeing that they should be given a trail at all, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that at the time, he wanted to just “shoot the bastards.”

Instead, the Nazis would be given a fair trial, and were convicted by international judges. One Nazi who escaped standing trial at Nuremberg was Adolf Eichmann. During the war, Eichmann was nicknamed “the chief architect of the Holocaust.” He was involved in building concentration camps, and masterminded the logistics of transporting millions of innocent Jews to their deaths. Eichmann escaped justice — fleeing to Buenos Aires, Argentina after the war.

The film centers around a lead Jewish agent named Peter Malkin, played by Oscar Isaac. Malkin struggles to move on with his life after the Holocaust claims his sister and her children. Isaac perfectly acts out Malkin’s character, portraying how the traumatic loss of his sister fills him with anger throughout the film.

When Malkin and the rest of the Mossad agents capture Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), Eichmann shows no remorse for his actions. Instead, he twists the horrors of the Holocaust by saying that he was simply following orders; he even lies that all he did during the war was paperwork.

Kingsley puts on an excellent performance as Eichmann, by playing a villain who is both twisted and inescapably human. The tension between Eichmann and Malkin builds up throughout several scenes and hits a boiling point in one explosive scene near the end. Malkin takes it upon himself to get a signature from Eichmann in order to bring him to Israel for a trial. During this mission, Malkin must choose whether to simply take revenge on Eichmann himself or allow Eichmann to live and stand before court.

“Operation Finale” starts off slow with several scenes in the beginning that could be trimmed out. However, director Chris Weitz still manages to tell a story that will have you on the edge of your seat by the movie’s latter half.

The pain of WWII and struggle of how to live a moral, normal life in the wake of trauma is a theme that the cast explores thoroughly and with confidence.

Chris Weitz’s greatest accomplishment is that his dramatization of the story does not rob the subject matter of any of its heaviness and power.

Overall rating 4.5/5