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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Operation Finale’ falls flat

Operation Finale
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Operation Finale

“Operation Finale” is a fascinating examination of the aftermath of the Holocaust and a study on what it really means to be a good guy.

Ben Kingsley does a phenomenal job as Adolf Eichmann, one of Hitler’s highest-ranking officers and architect of the final solution that killed millions. He delivers a chilling performance that somehow simultaneously humanizes and dehumanizes his character. While the film, and Kingsley’s performance in particular, emphasized the fact that the Nazis were people with families and lives, it also maintained a distinct line between good people forced to do bad things and bad people who enjoy doing them.

The film told the true story of Eichmann’s capture in Argentina by an Israeli team of operatives after the conclusion of World War II and the difficulty encountered in bringing him back to stand trial for his crimes against humanity. The plot itself stayed relatively true-to-life, at least as far as I could tell, and was therefore less action-packed than it could’ve been. This in and of itself is not an issue, but when combined with the film’s brutally slow start, the relatively tame suspense scenes caused the movie to drag on a bit. If you’re expecting a tense action thriller, you may want to reconsider buying a ticket.

The other star, Oscar Isaac, also delivered a notable performance that complimented Kingsley in a wonderful way. Isaac played one of the Israeli operatives that captured Eichmann, and it’s through his eyes that we see most of the movie. Isaac’s character is somewhat sympathetic toward Eichmann and attempts to reason and bargain with him for his cooperation. It’s in the interactions between Kingsley and Isaac that the meat of the movie takes place. Their dialogue is stimulating and the film uses brief flashbacks to detail the conflicting past of the two men. One, an evil person trying to justify his malice, and the other a good man pushed to the brink of animosity. It makes for a fascinating dichotomy.

Outside of these interactions, however, the rest of the film leaves much to be desired. I was disappointed by the sloppy introduction of multiple side stories that ended up going nowhere, as well as a diminished sense of sacrifice, which could have played a much bigger role in the film. I got the impression the writers intended for the film to have more substance than it did. There was opportunity for so much more emotion and suspense within the story that went unrealized. The beginning and very end of the movie seemed half-baked, unfinished. The middle of the movie, when Isaac and Kingsley appear on screen together the most, is really the only good part of the film; the rest just feels like background.

“Operation Finale” is a mediocre film with two brilliant performances that raises a few interesting moral questions and stays mostly true to the real-life story it was based on. However, the film wasn’t especially entertaining as its own narrative and lacked in both suspense and dramatic emotion. This movie might be worth seeing if you are a history buff or if you’re interested in philosophy. Otherwise, it probably isn’t worth spending the money on.

 

Keagan Miller is a psychology junior and life and arts reporter for The Battalion.

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