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Review Operation Finale

Review Operation Finale
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PLOT: A group of secret agents are sent to track down Adolf Eichmann, one of the Nazi officer masterminds behind the Holocaust. 

REVIEW: Chris Weitz has had quite an interesting career as a director. He started off with an “uncredited” directorial debut for AMERICAN PIE, and then went on to make the charmer, ABOUT A BOY. He then stepped into the world of glittery vampires with THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON. His latest is about as far from romancing vamps and horny teenagers as you can get. OPERATION FINALE is a somber true story, one that is likely to stir up a number of emotions for many filmgoers. Yet, as heartbreaking as this could have been, it isn’t quite as powerful as you’d expect. In fact, for a true tale about a group of secret agents kidnapping one of the main figureheads involved in the Holocaust, the tension is quite mild.

When suspected war criminal Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) is discovered, with the help of a young girl named Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) who is dating Adolf’s son Klaus (Joe Alwyn), a team of secret agents is assembled to bring him to Israel for trial. Members of the team who take on this dangerous mission include Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll), Hanna Elian (Mélanie Laurent), Peter Malkin (Oscar Issac) and more, all of whom are intent on kidnapping the man credited with being one of the main organizers of the Holocaust - with each member of the group having their own personal demons from the war and the terror brought on by the Nazi regime. The film explores Eichmann's capture, and the near impossible mission of bringing him to trial in Israel for his monstrous actions during World War II.

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This is a story that will certainly affect many for a number of reasons. With the main focus on the relationship between Peter Malkin and Adolf Eichmann, there is much to take in. Oscar Isaac is phenomenal as Malkin, a man who lost his sister Fruma and her three children to the Nazis. The intriguing bond between the two actors is fascinating to watch. Of course, Kingsley remains one of the finest talents working today, and his portrayal of Eichmann is absolutely exceptional. It is a fascinating thing to see, and you have to wonder how closely their relationship here matched the real story that lead to one of the biggest trials in history.

The rest of the cast is also quite impressive. Mélanie Laurent, Lior Raz, Michael Aronov, Ohad Knoller, Greta Scacchi, Peter Strauss and Haley Lu Richardson all stand out in some way. While the focus is on Kingsley and Isaac, this works as an ensemble piece thanks to the smart casting and the script by Matthew Orton. It is always interesting to see Nick Kroll - who is well known for his comedic work - in a more dramatic tale. In fact, the actor is equally as compelling in material such as this, as he would be in his more outrageous work. The guy can seemingly do it all. The cast collected to bring this work to life is quite possibly the best thing the film has to offer.

As a complete work, there is something that is missing in Chris Weitz’ dramatic tale. While you will find a bit of suspense throughout, the drama is unexpectedly low key. Clearly the situation the investigators find themselves in is terribly frightening, but there is a surprising lack of urgency in the story. Considering this team of secret agents are literally risking their lives to capture the war criminal, there is very little tension for much of the run time. This is a slow moving drama that occasionally fails to fully grasp the nearly insurmountable odds the characters are facing. At least in the last half hour or so, the deadly nature of their mission and the attempt to bring Eichmann to justice is more successfully realized. The final act ultimately comes close to bringing on the thrill and suspense of what could have made a devestatingly harrowing feature.

The story behind OPERATION FINALE is a fascinating one. And the feature film telling of this important part of history works some of the time, as well, it offers an impressive cast. Unfortunately it isn't as satisfying of a viewing experience as it perhaps could have been. Aside from the final act, the lack of suspense is prevalent throughout much of the running time. Even still, the story leading up the trial features some terrific work, especially from both Isaac and Kingsley. While not as powerful as it could have been, there is still something to admire here. If you are a fan of the cast, or have any interest in this part of history, I’d give it a mild recommendation - but you may want to stick to the bargain matinee or wait for video.

 

Source: JoBlo.com

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