“We have our man,” says Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac), member of Mossad, Israeli intelligence agency. “Ricardo Clements is Adolph Eichmann.” “Why are we making him famous by putting him on trial?” asks fellow agent Moshe Tabor (Greg Hill). In “Operation Finale,” we learn how, in 1960, fugitive Nazi Adolph Eichmann, “architect of the Holocaust,” was found, abducted from Argentina, and taken for trial to Israel by agents of the Israeli Mossad.
Can agent Peter Malkin break Eichmann’s long, stoic silence? Will Argentina police discover Eichmann in Mossad’s safe house? Is “Operation Finale” compelling history? For answers, see this important, well-made film.
Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley excel as Mossad agent Peter Malkin and Nazi war-criminal Adolph Eichmann. Their extended, mutual, cat-and-mouse interrogation is the film’s centerpiece. Malkin must persuade Eichmann to sign an agreement to stand trial in Israel. “I only did what I was told to do,” says Eichmann. “By the end, I was chained to my desk twenty hours a day. My job was to save the country I loved the best.” Malkin says, “I think you should sign. Why? — because I believe you.”
Others in the cast include, as members of the Israeli Mossad: Nick Kroll (Chafi Eitan), Lior Raz (Isser Harel), Michael Aronov (Zvi Aharoni) and Greg Hill (Moshe Tabor). Melanie Laurent is medic Hanna. Haley Lu Richardson plays Sylvia Hermann, whose chance friendship with Eichmann’s son Klaus (Joe Alwyn), leads Mossad agents to their target. Simon Russell Beale has a splendid cameo as Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion.
“Operation Finale” is an historical film about the 1960s Israeli plan to capture elusive war-criminal Adolph Eichmann and remove him from Argentina where, under an assumed name, he was living a new life. Directed by Chris Weitz, with Matthew Orton’s script, this handsome-to-look-at film follows Peter Malkin as he and his colleagues plan Eichmann’s capture and abduction and, despite many unexpected road bumps, carry out their plan. While its structure sometimes mimics a caper/heist movie, it’s a serious film, re-creating important post World War II history. Excellent cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe and music by Alexandre Desplat.
Rated PG-13 for disturbing themes, violence and language, “Operation Finale” runs 122 minutes. It’s a likely source of Oscar nominations.
Where is Adolph Eichmann,
“Operation Finale” —
Kill him now? Or let him live?