A team of secret agents set out to track down the Nazi officer who masterminded the Holocaust.
There is a story in Operation Finale; a deep, somber one. And with repeated films having been made on the subject of the Holocaust and its devastating aftermath, it is fortunate that we, as audience members, do not feel taxed and weary from the subject. Stories spanning loss, hope, vengeance, and peace still strike us when we talk about and see films involving the Holocaust. For that, thankfulness is to be had.
Thidparticular story, however, is muddled. I did not leave the film bored or having felt that I had lost time. I merely felt slightly disappointed. The film, directed by Chris Weitz, dangles some truly fascinating themes involving the line between personal and professional work while relaying the story of Mossad agents capturing the Nazi orchestrator of The Final Solution, Adolph Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). Seen only in satisfying but brief bursts, the film works best when it is focused on how these characters, most of Jewish descent, must struggle together to keep their personal beliefs and pains in check while delivering their enemy to justice.
Just about everything, at least in the background, of Operation Finale looks and feels right: from the set pieces, which are minimal and yet spatially aware (a la Casablanca) to the costumes to the rich cinematography, one stumbles into the film feeling taken back to the period it portrays, being Buenos Aires circa 1960. The film feels lived in at all times, and it is for this part of the craft one can deeply appreciate. Then there are the scenes with protagonist Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) and Eichmann that really start the moral complexity fire. Both actors provide nimble ying-and-yang in their scenes together—scenes that accentuate the drama of the film.
The Dove Take
Operation Finale is not a failure by any means. The final scenes of resolve offer a surprising amount of peace. The audience finally breathes together after two hours of suspense. The film is only a slight miss because it does not quite take the subject as seriously as it could.
Dove is unable to award approval to Operation Finale due to high levels of language and violence.