operation finale

DIRECTOR: chris weitz (about a boy, the golden compass)
STARRING: oscar isaac, ben kingsley, nick kroll, and melanie laurent

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Screening now on Netflix worldwide (except the USA)

★★★★

Fifteen years after the end of World War II, a team of top-secret Israeli agents travels to Argentina to track down Adolf Eichmann, 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 soon finds himself playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the notorious war criminal.

In this game you often see films added to cinema release schedules and then disappear for no apparent reason. When I saw the trailer for Operation Finale earlier this year I was intrigued - it reminded me a little of Spielberg's superb Munich (2005) or the Helen Mirren film The Debt (2010). I was of course disappointed when the cinematic release date came and went without it appearing at the cinema, but was pleasantly surprised when I came across it while flicking through Netflix. Then the dreaded thought: if it went straight to Netflix it mustn't be that good, right? 

 

Wrong. Operation Finale is a throughly entertaining political thriller anchored by tremendous performances from Oscar Isaac and the stupendous Sir Ben Kingsley. 

Operation Finale tells the true story of Mossad, the Jewish secret service, and their plan to capture Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Final Solution, from his hide out in Argentina to take him to face trial in Israel for his crimes against the Jewish people. 

There is something rock solidly believable about Operation Finale that completely captures you from the opening scene right until the very end. Sure, its not as beautifully crafted as Munich (no offence to director Chris Weitz; Spielberg is in a league of his own) and not as action packed as The Debt, but the story is down right compelling and the nearly two hours running time flies by.

 

The story is paced beautifully with the necessary exposition not at all drawn out and the tension of Eichmann's capture and the teams attempts to smuggle him of out Argentina truly palpable. Even if you have very little interest in history you won't be able to help but be swept up in the story. 

Oscar Isaac is superb as Peter Malkin, the Mossad agent driven by personal loss to bring Eichmann to trial. He's Poe Dameron charming but has that furious look in his eyes that makes you think that at any moment he is prepared to use whatever force necessary to achieve his goal. 

But this film belongs completely to Sir Ben Kingsley who has the room to give his most powerful performance since Schindler's List or Sexy Beast. He is utterly superb; one moment a soft spoken older man and then turns on a dime becoming evil personified. Such is the magnitude of his performance that you completely and utterly believe that he was capable of orchestrating the most horrific crimes imaginable. 

An utterly entertaining political thriller anchored by tremendous performances from Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley.

★★★★

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