Operation Finale Review - Gripping Account of the Capture of Adolph Eichmann

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Operation Finale, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, brings to the screen the true story behind the capture of Adolph Eichmann, the architect of the final solution under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, who was responsible sending millions of Jews to die.

Directed by Chris Weitz, Operation Finale stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Oscar Isaac, Melanie Laurent, Peter Strauss, Haley Lu Richardson, Lior Raz, Nick Kroll, Michael Aronov, Ohad Knoller, Greg Hill, Torben Liebrecht, Michael Benjamin Hernandez, Joe Alwyn, Greta Sacchi, Pepe Rapazote, Rainer Reiners, and Simon Russell Beale.

The film opens on Christmas eve, with a man knocking on the front door of a former Nazi’s home, at Christmas, among them was Peter Malkin, played by Oscar Isaac, a member of Israel’s secret service dedicated to finding all those responsible for the Nazi Holocaust and bringing them to justice.

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Months later in Argentina, 1956, a group of guys, are being shushed at the movie by a girl. As the movie ends, we see the girl, Sylvia, played by Haley Lu Richardson, and the guy, Klaus, played by Joe Alwyn, talking outside the theatre.

This chance meeting leads to a tip that Adolph Eichmann, a Lieutenant-Colonel, in Hitler’s Nazi regime and the architect of what became know as the final solution, the mass slaughter of more than six million European Jews, was hiding in Argentina.

After the first round of authentic reconnaissance comes back positive, a larger team, including Peter Malkin, Hanna Elian, played by Melanie Laurent, Rafi Eitan, played by Nick Kroll, Zvi Aharoni, played by Michal Aronov, and Moshe Tabor, played by Greg Hill are dispensed to extract the prize.

The window is limited with a short time for investigation and confirmation. Capture and extraction would take place with the team and Eichmann flying out on El-Al. Even with the plans perfected down to the minutes, uncontrollable variables inevitably arise.

One this night, extraction which would have essentially had him vanish, was tipped as the struggle lead to clues left at the scene. After securing the prize in a safe house, the team learns the flight was not cleared for landing for an additional ten days leaving them to conceal the world’s most notorious Nazi and to locally keep the police, who are searching for him at bay.

Once they begin the interrogation, we understand the Israeli government has placed two new obstacles for the team and each of them include debriefing and admission from Eichmann. Here they sit, both Eichmann and the Mossad team, each the most hated by the other.

Throughout the film we see in each, in Eichmann and in Malkin, one of the most horrific memories each of them hold. For Malkin, it is of his sister and her children, toddlers, shot dead and she hanged, tossed in a truck with dozens of others burned, buried, no one knows exactly.

For Eichmann, who as the architect of the final solution, the mastermind of the killing machine, of the ovens, of the destruction of Jews, and others, gays, mentally and physically challenged, anyone not of German ancestry who burdened or was believed to burden society, the memory as we find out is of a mass killing in a trench, maybe five miles long filed with Jews, waiting, some holding up there children, hoping for a drop of compassion, a moment, when the reality would supersede the action, and then the orders to shoot.

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Operation Finale is compelling. The filmmaker, Chris Weitz, was sure to continue to return the minds of the audience to the scene of the crimes. Instead of focusing on the whole, he narrowed the war crimes to those most affecting to the team and Eichmann most notorious.

Sir Ben Kingsley delivers a gripping performance as a man of two personas, of two lives, of two truths. Oscar Isaac, as Peter Milkin, also a real person, who was responsible for interrogating Eichmann and securing the necessary signature from him, after traditional methods proved fruitless.

The authenticity of the holocaust, which for many is under assault as a world of Holocaust illiterates, begin to rise in prestige and power, and drown out the blights on history, are only opening the door to repeat the alt-right hatred.

Operation Finale is captivating, an absorbing, engrossing historical account with riveting performances that will leave an indelible mark as those somewhere choose not to forget, even as the generations pass, the lights dim, the truth, the one constant, remains.

Operation Finale is playing in select cities. Check local listings.

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