I’m a sucker for films based on historical events, especially those that don’t get told often or have yet to be told at all. And if it revolves around World War II or afterward, you can guarantee I’ll be watching it sometime soon. Operation Finale is exactly the type of movie that piques my interest. After having so many movies focus on Adolf Hitler and other stories that we were told countless times in history classes, director Chris Weitz gives us one that isn’t as well known but is as important to learn about.
The funny thing is, this is one story about which I didn’t know anything. It surprised my girlfriend when, way late into the movie, she asked if something actually happened to the real Adolf Eichmann (portrayed here by Ben Kingsley). Honestly, I couldn’t have told you prior to watching Operation Finale. Although, after seeing the movie, I have become more curious to research the actual story.
Operation Finale takes place 15 years after the end of World War II. Adolf Hitler is dead, as are - presumably - all the others behind the Holocaust. That is until it’s discovered that Eichmann is alive and has taken shelter in Buenos Aries under a different name. When Agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) catches word of Eichmann being found, he assembles teams from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and security agency Shin Bet to capture Eichmann.
Isaac gives a great performance as Malkin, a determined man willing to stop at nothing to bring Eichmann to justice. Although the film does become a little too heavy-handed by constantly showing flashbacks of Malkin’s family being killed by Nazis, there’s a joy in watching Isaac try to put all the pieces together.
Kinglsey’s performance is serviceable at times, but the makeup on him is a bit off. There are certain points where it looks like Kevin Spacey is portraying Eichmann with that bizarre wig choice they have for the character. But then there are other moments where Kingsley really gets into the performance and makes Eichmann a sinister and loathsome human being.
Operation Finale comes across as way too formulaic for a majority of the movie’s runtime, and there are certain scenes that should feel more intense than they are. Plus, Weitz gives us so many different supporting characters - all played by well-respected actors - that it can be hard to keep up with each individual person. There’s not as much emotional involvement as there should be, and the score can come off as distracting. But seeing the story unfold is quite interesting to watch, and should please those who are into history that isn’t as well-known.
The Blu-ray release for Operation Finale comes in a 1080p high definition widescreen presentation with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The audio is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master track with subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. In addition, there are DVD and digital copies that come with the Blu-ray. The special features are bare. One is a commentary track with Weitz, while the other is a six-minute, behind-the-scenes look called “Inside the Operation.”
Although it’s far from perfect, there is plenty in Operation Finale to admire. The two leads are solid, and the story itself should be enough to satisfy those looking for a good spy thriller based on true events.