REVIEW: Operation Finale

Year: 2018
Directed by: Chris Weitz
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Mélanie Laurent

Written by Elena Morgan

A team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents set out to track down and bring to trial Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the Nazi officer who masterminded the Holocaust.

Based on a true story, Operation Finale is a drama that does the job it sets out to do. It’s a film that feels like its main aim was to tell this story with great care as its subject matter is naturally incredibly poignant. However, that does make for a film that is sensitive but is also lacking any tension or fleshed-out and interesting characters.

There’s a scene just before the team leaves Israel for Argentina where Eichmann is suspected to be hiding, where each member talks about who they lost in the Holocaust. It humanises them all and shows the personal stakes they each have in bringing this man to court. However, besides from that, a lot of the characters are interchangeable and have no real defining characteristics.

Oscar Isaac plays Peter Malkin, a man who’s typically a hitman but in this case is one of the guys planning the operation to take Eichmann alive. He gives a good performance, and there are flashbacks sprinkled throughout the film showing who was taken from him during the Holocaust, but he’s not a particularly layered character, instead mainly being the ‘Good Guy’ to Eichmann’s ‘Bad Guy’.

The scenes where it is just Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac in a room together talking are the most interesting. It’s verbal sparring at its finest as they play a game of cat and mouse with one another, both of them taking on the role of the negotiator as they try and get what they want.

Ben Kingsley is brilliant as Eichmann, straddling the line between heartless and sensitive. His previous actions make him irredeemable, but seeing him with his family, and how he talks about why he did what he did and how he was one part in a larger machine, makes him a fascinating villain. Everyone is drawn to him, even if they are repulsed by him, and Kingsley’s almost serene take on this man is great to watch.

There’s a lot of good things about Operation Finale;  the acting, costumes and filming, but it’s never great. Unfortunately, it lacks the depth or intensity to make the story truly compelling. Many of the story beats are what we’ve seen before in the genre, with the finale especially feeling like a poor man’s Argo.

Operation Finale is a perfectly fine, well-intentioned film, that’s entertaining enough. It’s just a shame that with so much good stuff in it, it never becomes something memorable.

ELENA’S RATING:

3

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Oscar Isaac is Peter Malkin In First Trailer For ‘Operation Finale’

“This thrilling true story follows the 1960 covert mission of legendary Mossad agent Peter Malkin as he infiltrates Argentina and captures Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who masterminded the transportation logistics that brought millions of innocent Jews to their deaths in concentration camps.”

Directed by: Chris Weitz

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Lior Raz, Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll, Joe Alwyn, Haley Lu Richardson, Michael Aronov, Ohad Knoller, Greg Hill, Torben Liebrecht, Mike Hernandez, Greta Scacchi and Pêpê Rapazote

Release Date: September 14th, 2018 (US)

Watch This Space: July 13 – 19

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

It’s been nearly three months since Marvel last graced the silver screen, so it’s about time they brought us something new. ‘Ant-Man’ promises to bring a unique and fresh edge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and should entertain cinemagoers of all ages.

I saw the trailer for ‘Self/Less’ recently and I have to say that, despite a reasonably strong cast of Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley, it looks like a flop. And judging from various reviews dotted around the web, that hypothesis seems to be correct. Feel free to take the risk though.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 21:00 GMT: Splitting the polls, ‘Bad Teacher’ is a relatively crude, adult and comedic film. Cameron Diaz stars as the detestable, yet hilarious educator on Film4.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: This year’s ‘Furious 7’ was an absolute monster hit at the box-office. See where all the action began with ‘The Fast & The Furious’ on ITV2.

Friday 22:45 GMT: Surely we don’t need to tell you how great ‘Gladiator’ is. Winning 5 Academy Awards and finding itself in the IMDb top 50 films of all time, this is a must-see on ITV1.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Way back in 2000, Ben Stiller graced our screens in ‘Meet The Parents’. Still as awkward and funny as ever, you can find it on BBC3.

Sunday 20:00 GMT: A family-fave due to its obvious youngster appeal and added wit, sarcasm and emotional reach for the adults, ‘Shrek’ is deservedly the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Catch the loveable ogre on BBC3.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Batman: Our news feed was absolutely dominated by San Diego Comic Con last week, most notably the emergence of a trailer for ‘Batman v Superman’, which we LOVE by the way!! The signs suggest that Batfleck might just be a success after all, but until March 2016 we have to make do with the caped crusaders of the past. Tim Burton’s 1989 classic should calm your impatience for a while.

American Psycho: Almost as exciting as the footage of Bats and Supes, was the ‘leaked’ trailer for ‘Suicide Squad’. The man everyone wanted to see – Jared Leto’s Joker of course. He may only play a bit part in ‘American Psycho’, but we don’t need much of an excuse to advocate this gruesome great of modern cinema. Plus, Christian Bale is Batman too, so there’s another link if you weren’t already satisfied.

Grease: This week, the people of Greece united and stood their ground against a harsh and unfair austerity plan, a slap in the face for greed worldwide. Tedious, but phonetically correct, our link comes in the form of 1978 classic musical, ‘Grease’. Both John Travolta and Olivia Newton John will forever be known for their roles as high school lovebirds Danny and Sandy. Complete with “gang” rivalry (gang being used in the loosest sense of the word), adult-scale drama and musical hits a-plenty, it’s a must-see if you haven’t already.

Catch Me If You Can: Based on a real life wonder, this biographical crime drama depicts the fascinating and surreal life of fraudster Frank Abagnale Jr. JumpCut favourite Leonardo DiCaprio leads, successfully demonstrating Abagnale’s tenacity and charm when battling with the law, in the form of Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty. Working as a doctor, lawyer and co-pilot before his 18th birthday, Abagnale’s journey is a riveting one.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Molly Dolan

Watch This Space: April 27 – May 3

 Welcome to our newest feature – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Nothing new to report on the cinema releases this week, for the UK anyway. If you haven’t already, get yourself to a screening of ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ and treat yourself to IMAX and 3D. If you’re over in the USA, you’ll have to wait until the end of the week to finally see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but it’s worth it.

Last week, the UK became the last country to catch the release of ‘Stonehearst Asylum’, which ironically seems to be a British like-for-like version of  Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’. Ben Kingsley heads a stellar cast in this eerie thriller, but don’t expect anything special from this version of a familiar story.

‘Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck’ was released a fortnight ago, without the media hype that one might have expected. But nonetheless, this documentary film presents an intriguing balance of art and fact, a must-see film for those remotely interested in the legacy of Cobain, and indeed Nirvana.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 18:15 GMT: Continuing the Han Solo buzz from last week, you can catch Harrison Ford in ‘Clear And Present Danger’ on Film4, another classic from his catalogue of fantastic films.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: Whilst it may not particularly be our cup of tea, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has its fair share of admirers. With the second film released earlier this year, Film4 give you the chance to see what all the fuss is about.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: Now THIS is more like it! On 5*, go back to school with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill for ‘21 Jump Street’. We promise you will laugh out loud and be thoroughly entertained all the way through.

Friday 22:40pm GMT: From the director of the upcoming Amy Winehouse biopic, comes ‘Senna’. Catch the award-winning story of legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna on ITV.

Saturday 17:10 GMT: Keep the kids (and yourself) entertained this Saturday night, with ‘Wall-E’ on BBC1. This Pixar film won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature back in 2009, and deservedly so; a real treat for the whole family.

Sunday 19:10 GMT: Strictly for the females with this pick, Channel 5 bring us ‘Legally Blonde’ on Sunday evening, an entertaining film packed with girl power and feel-good vibes to help you prepare for the doldrums of Monday morning.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Dallas Buyers Club: August 2016 will see Jared Leto adopt the iconic role of The Joker for ‘Suicide Squad’. Arguably Leto’s best character to date is that of Transgender AIDS patient Rayon in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. Based on a true story, the tale is moving, humorous and harrowing.

The Help: Picking back up with our giveaway competition, this week will see the newly released ‘Birdman’ up for grabs. Best Supporting Actress nominee Emma Stone truly shines in 1960s drama ‘The Help’, challenging racism in the Deep South.

The Social Network: This week, details were revealed for the following two instalments of the ‘Fifty Shades’ series. Dakota Johnson made her first notable silver screen appearance in ‘The Social Network’, a fascinating insight into the story behind the phenomenal worldwide success of Facebook.

Napoleon Dynamite: It’s that time of year when revision is the hot word on everyone’s lips, or at least it should be. Maintaining the scholastic theme, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ is an independent comedy film focusing on the weird and wonderful ways of Napoleon as he progresses through high school.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Molly Dolan