Movies are getting released way too early, y’all! I’m against this! But, er, no clever segue. I’ve known about this movie’s existence, but have never actually seen a trailer for it in all my cinema visits.
The story looks like it’s about the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the man who organize the Holocaust, thanks to Israeli intelligence.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Oscar Isaac (ANNIHILATION , Star Wars LAST JEDI  and FORCE AWAKENS , X-MEN: APOCALYPSE , and upcoming films LIFE ITSELF  and THE ADDAMS FAMILY ) and Ben Kingsley (COLLIDE , THE JUNGLE BOOK , THE WALK , IRON MAN 3 , HUGO , and upcoming films INTRIGO: DEATH OF AN AUTHOR  and NOMIS ). In support, we have Mélanie Laurent (NOW YOU SEE ME  and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS ), Nick Kroll (UNCLE DREW , CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS , LOVING , VACATION , and upcoming films THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2  and THE ADDAMS FAMILY), Joe Alwyn (THE SENSE OF AN ENDING , BILLY LYNN , and upcoming films BOY ERASED  and THE FAVOURITE ), and Haley Lu Richardson (SUPPORT THE GIRLS , SPLIT , THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN , and upcoming films FIVE FEET APART  and THE CHAPERONE ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Chris Weitz, known for TWILIGHT: NEW MOON (2009) and ABOUT A BOY (2002). Penning the screenplay, we have Matthew Orton, making his screenwriting debut. Congrats, sir. Composing the score, we have Alexandre Desplat, known for ISLE OF DOGS (2018), THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017), FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016), THE DANISH GIRL (2015), GODZILLA (2014), Harry Potter DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1 (2010) and PART 2 (2011), and upcoming films THE SISTERS BROTHERS (2018) and KURSK (2018). The cinematographer is Javier Aguirresarobe, known for THOR: RAGNAROK (2017), THE FINEST HOURS (2016), and GOOSEBUMPS (2015). Finally, the editor is Pamela Martin, known for BATTLE OF THE SEXES (2017) and FREE STATE OF JONES (2016).
Overall, I don’t know how good this is going to be. Personally, I think it looks a bit boring. I doubt acting will be a problem, but I’m getting a serious “spy film” vibe here, and unless it’s packed with action, it runs the risk of not being my cup of tea. But who knows? Maybe the movie will surprise me.
This is my honest opinion of: OPERATION FINALE
Set in 1960. Young Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson), secretly a Jew living in Argentina, has recently begun dating a young man named Klaus (Joe Alwyn), who she discovers is a Nazi sympathizer and supporter. To make matters even worse, Klaus is the son of the most notorious of Hitler’s lieutenants, Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), who orchestrated the Holocaust. When Israeli spies catch wind of this news, they send in a team lead by Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) to capture Eichmann alive and bring him back to Israel to stand trial.
You know what? Color me surprised. This movie is actually pretty good.
One of the biggest problems I occasionally have with spy thrillers of this caliber is a bunch of old guys sitting around with grim faces and speaking in low, gruff voices. This movie doesn’t do that. People look like they’re invested in the situation and each scene really builds on the stakes, not just for the individuals, but for their entire people who deserve justice. In Peter’s case, his sister was murdered. I especially love the chilling moment when the Prime Minister (or whoever that was), comes in to the boys celebrating the green lighting of their operation and tells them that if they fail, the man who organized the Holocaust, one of the most horrifying and monstrous acts in mankind’s history, escapes justice to live an undeserved peaceful and quiet life with his own family while the few million survivors who lost their friends and families, some who are even the last in their family legacy, have to live without that sense of closure. Cheerful thought.
To add to the already planted stakes of Eichmann’s capture and its importance, the movie also ups the ante with conspirators who are out to reacquire the former Nazi, one of them being none other than his son, Klaus. Their influence delays the flight of the extraction team for ten days, so in the mean time, they’re hunkered down in this house, forced to literally sit on their asses, wait, and basically be damned careful, while the opposing forces are scouring the city looking for Eichmann, even coming pretty close to finding him early on in their hunt. The tension is there and provides a great deal of entertainment.
What I really didn’t expect was how much the relationship would be pushed between Eichmann and Peter. I would almost say that this is masterfully written because you have no idea who’s in control and who’s losing it. Of course, Peter maintains his power by not talking to Eichmann at first, but the moment the two start casually chit chatting, big ole question marks get proverbially thrown everywhere. Does Peter actually believe that Eichmann has some semblance of humanity, or is he faking his sympathy? Is Eichmann actually remorseful of what his actions lead to, or is he faking that? Who’s being manipulated? Is anyone being manipulated? If both are trying to manipulate each other, who’s winning? The suspense is brilliant, and wouldn’t be half as great to watch were it not for the incredible chemistry that Isaac and Kingsley share.
However, with all the praise I’ve got, there are a couple of oopsies.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the score kind of bothered me. No disrespect toward Desplat, but his score for this movie felt like it belonged in a comedy or an animated movie. Put it to you this way, if SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 ends up being a spy thriller of sorts, this score would work perfectly for that. As it stands… it doesn’t quite work regarding a story about the capture of one of the most hated Nazis in history. Just saying.
Also, the movie introduces a couple of elements that ultimately went nowhere. The first is during the scene where Peter abducts Eichmann. Specifically, right before the actual abduction itself. So by this point in the story, Peter’s been spying on Eichmann’s day to day routine, trying to find an opening to capture him, which is eventually found. However, two things end up happening that freaks the entire team out. One, there’s an unknown bicyclist that comes out of nowhere, which hadn’t been documented before. And two, there’s two buses. Eichmann has a day job and, like clockwork, goes to and from work on a single bus and the only one that shows up in the area. However, this particular night, two buses show up. While some in the team feel that new factors are in play and they should abort the mission, Peter opts to stay on course, and successfully captures Eichmann. So… what was the deal with the cyclist? What was the deal with the second bus? Were these just red herrings, or was there something more sinister at work? I don’t know, man, this information seemed pretty ham-fisted in an attempt to add even more suspense in an already naturally suspenseful scene. I mean, you have this guy being abducted right outside of his house and his struggles are enough to make his wife a little curious about the ruckus that may or may not be happening outside. It’d be like if when Wonder Woman gets out of the trenches of No Man’s Land, taking that barrage of machinegun fire like the God damned boss that she is, and then randomly throwing in a distressed bunny that she needs to save. Cute as that would be to see Wonder Woman saving a frightened bunny, it would have been wholly unnecessary. The second bus and cyclist is unnecessary.
Oh, and seriously, what the hell became of Sylvia and her grandfather? Yes, yes, they’re reunited by the end after he’d been captured by the Nazis that were trying to locate Eichmann, but its not like Klaus dies or goes to prison by the end of the movie. It’s not like he wasn’t eventually told that he was dating, and quite possibly boinking, a Jewish girl. That sort of realization would drive any misguided shit-stain to do unthinkable things for what he would likely describe as “out of principle.” Am I to assume that Sylvia and her Pip Pop are seamlessly living a quiet life away from Nazi drama? HIGHLY DOUBTFUL!!! It may not be blatantly obvious that Sylvia was instrumental in Eichmann’s capture, but Sylvia could easily be a target for Klaus’ anger and blame, if not on the grounds for simply being a Jewish girl, then on the grounds that she is one of the people that ultimately hanged and cremated his loving father. Happy ending for the Jewish community, bully for all you guys, but I’ll be sitting in my dark depressing corner wondering if Sylvia is still okay. This may not be the best nitpick, so I won’t necessarily take any brownie points away, as this movie isn’t exactly about her, but it’s still a troubling implication.
Overall, not exactly perfection, but still a pretty good flick if you’re interested in the downfall of Nazis, which everyone gets a kick out of once in awhile. The acting is great, the movie is well-made as a whole, the tension is genuinely gripping, the story serves up a great deal of interest, and is pretty entertaining for something that could have easily been boring, as I expected. While some details feel a little unnecessary, and that score really does bother me, I’m still giving this film a solid recommendation. No need to drop what you’re doing to go see it, but it’s worth it as a matinee or discount day.
My honest rating for OPERATION FINALE: 4/5
This week’s reviews
- THE LITTLE STRANGER
- LET THE CORPSES TAN / LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES
- YA VEREMOS / WE’LL SEE
Next week’s reviews: