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MOVIE REVIEW: Operation Finale

Operation Finale


GRADE: A-


GENRES: drama, dramatized history, biography (but placed mostly in one event)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5208252/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1


GENERAL COMMENTS: My favorite movie of all time is “Schindler’s List”. It’s a movie that weaves the human story together both during one of its ugliest chapters and one of its most resilient and hopeful pages. “Operation Finale” is the sequel. It looks into what happened to the murderers and designers of Auschwitz and Treblinka after the war ended. At the end of “Schindler’s List”, we see Oscar Schindler escaping the Allies as the war ends even though he had worked to save as many people as possible. Though, we don’t see in that movie what happened to Eichmann, Goring, Hess and other high-ranking Nazis. “Operation Finale” fills in a bit of those missing details.


I don’t want to give too much away, but the movie is about the pursuit of Adolf Eichmann, who was considered the mastermind behind the “Final Solution” or the death of 6-17 million Jewish people.[1][2] Just like with the movie “Munich”, we see Mossad and other Israeli agencies tracking down a killer of the Jewish people and bringing them to justice. Unlike “Munich”, this movie isn’t as suspenseful. I had studied a bit about Eichmann and knew a bit of what was shown in this movie. So, for me, that is why it wasn’t as hard-hitting as “Munich”. I would suggest not studying anything on Eichmann before watching this movie.



One picture of the millions who died because of Eichmann


WHAT WORKS: Ben Kingsley. Nuff said! I have followed Ben Kingsley career since “Schindler’s List”, and I have loved almost every role he has taken. I cannot say he is a great actor since he basically seems to play himself in every role but just with slightly different make-up. Though, his roles are iconic, and this one is no less. In this movie, he plays the stoic and number-crunching Adolf Eichmann. His semi-robotic portrayal of the “Architect of the Final Solution” is dead pan…and brilliant!


As well, Oscar Isaac does a superb job in his role as a Mossad agent. Without giving away anything, the character he plays is the most complex and interesting. We see flashbacks of his life during World War II and just how important the capture of Adolf Eichmann is to him personally. I would say that this vignette throughout the movie makes it the most interesting! The movie becomes more than a “Catch Me If You Can” type of movie to a “Sophie’s Choice” type of movie (by the way, those two movies I just mentioned were more poignant than this movie).


Lior Raz from “Fauda” also makes an appearance. If you haven’t seen “Fauda”, go to Netflix after reading this and start watching that TV series! It looks at the current struggle in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine.


I did enjoy learning a bit more about the Nazi movement in Argentina after World War II. I knew there was an enclave there, but I thought it was rather clandestine. You find out in the movie that it was far from these dirty, old men hiding in the shadows. I will have to do more research on just how influential the group was in their adoptive country.


That did get me thinking. Why did the Nazis choose Argentina? I know it is a country where immigration from Europe was at its height at the end of the 20th Century.[3] So, there clearly was a huge “pure race” there already. But it would have also been mixed by this point. How did people from the “master race” decide to move to a country of mestizos or “mixed blood” people?


WHAT DOESN’T WORK: There is not much that doesn’t work in this movie. But…it mostly just sits there and doesn’t do much. It isn’t as astounding as “Schindler’s List”. There are no shocking scenes or drama that leaves you thinking for days. And since I knew what the ending was, I wasn’t surprised at all during any part of the movie. It just flowed nicely, and it ended nicely. And that is probably its greatest flaw. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that there really isn’t any hair-raising part of this movie. You end the movie thinking, “well, that was good information.” For me, I enjoyed the movie, and I’m glad I watched it. But I can’t say it has entered any list of memorable movies.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann


[2] The reason there is a range of numbers for how many Jewish people died during the Holocaust is that there were various methods that were used by the Nazis to kill the Jewish inhabitants of Germany and neighboring countries. So, it really depends on how you define the parameters. In the end, Eichmann orchestrated the deaths of millions of people.


[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina

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