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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Weekend BO Report: ‘The Nun’ Delivers A Heavenly Franchise-Best $54m Opening

Written by Dapo Olowu

This weekend saw ‘The Nun’s holy ascent up to first place in the Box Office charts, with Corin Hardy’s supernatural prequel earning a scary $53.8m in its 3-day debut, smashing ‘The Conjuring’ franchise’s (better known as the CCU) opening record. All praise be to ‘The Nun’, it seems, as its now the biggest horror opening of the year, and the 4th biggest of all time in the States.

Not bad for a film with just 27% on the Tomatometer.

It’s especially remarkable once you realise that the CCU wasn’t initially planned as a franchise, but only came to existence due to the popularity of ‘The Conjuring’. The first spinoff, 2014s ‘Annabelle’, was helmed by ‘The Conjuring’ cinematographer John R. Leonetti, and grossed $257m worldwide. Fast-forward 4 years and newest edition ‘The Nun’, should easily topple that gross by the end of its BO run.

Its overseas earnings are just as impressive. Opening in around 60 countries, the horror, starring Taissa Farmiga (sister to ‘The Conjuring’ actress Vera Farmiga) and Demián Bichir, reached number one in 54 of them, including the U.K. with $5.3m. A near-$80m international start gives the film $133.1m after just 3 days, leaving it a highly profitable investment – off of a $22m budget – for Warner Bros.

The studio hoped to be the first in over 25 years to hold the top 2 places on the BO charts for four consecutive weeks, but fell short at the final hurdle, as ‘Crazy Rich Asians$13.1m wasn’t enough to stay ahead of new release ‘Peppermint’s $13.4m, but still saw more than double that of fellow WB-er ‘The Meg’ ($6.1m).

It was a familiar story for the vigilante-action flick ‘Peppermint’, opening on-par to genre-matching ‘Death Wish’ ($13m), and ‘The Foreigner’ ($13.1m). Its B+ on Cinemascore was furthered its similarities with the pair, and now Pierre Morel’s latest offering will likely finish in the $35m region domestically (again, like the two films). Its R rating predictably drew in the older crowd, with 78% of the opening weekend audience above 25 years old – providing perfect counter-viewing for ‘The Nun’, which saw just 44% of its watchers over 25.

This marks a solid year for Jennifer Garner, whose last film ‘Love Simon’ legged out from a $11.8m start to finish on $40.8m domestically and $66.3m worldwide. John Cho-fronted ‘Searching’ hopes for similar luck, and is currently on track for a domestic finish close to $30m, with its $4.6m weekend. The thriller, now at $32.5m worldwide, beat out ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ as predicted ($3.9m), but the latter now stands at a whopping $726.7m globally, now officially Tom Cruise’s biggest film in his career thus far.

New release ‘God Bless the Broken Road’ flattered to deceive, pulling in a wretched $1.4m from 1,300 theatres, for a per-cinema average of just $1.1k. Although many forecasted an opening closer to ‘Disney’s Christopher Robin’s weekend ($3.4m) or even ‘Operation Finale’ ($2.9m), it ended up grossing nearly half of ‘BlacKkKlansman’ ($2.6m) and ‘Alpha’ ($2.5m), for an 11th place finish.

With ‘The Nun’ breaking records just as Andy Muschietti’s ‘It’ did exactly a year ago, just how far can this film go in the Box Office? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘The Nun’ Looks To Conjure Up A $40m+ Opening

Written by Dapo Olowu

The summer may be over, but the big Box Office hitters keep stepping up to the plate as Warner Bros’ ‘The Nun’ looks to keep the high-grossing momentum going. 2018s summer, which culminated in a threepeat win for rom-com ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, marked a 14% rise from a year ago and shows no signs of slowing down, with Corin Hardy’s horror expecting to gross over $40m from 3,876 cinemas in its first 3 days – a potential franchise record.

It’s the latest in the highly successful ‘Conjuring Cinematic Universe’, or the CCU (coined by yours truly). The franchise currently houses the 7th, 8th, and 9th biggest horror movies of all time globally in ‘The Conjuring 2’ ($320.4m), ‘The Conjuring’ ($319.5m), and 2017s ‘Annabelle: Creation’ ($306.5m). It’s openings continuously straddle the $40m boundary, with the biggest being ‘The Conjuring’s $41.9m in 2013, and does this regardless of critical reception, meaning that ‘The Nun’s 32% on the Tomatometer (which isn’t the worst in the franchise) remains largely irrelevant.

With American ticket-seller Fandango reporting pre-sales to not only be over that of ‘A Quiet Place’ (that saw a $50m opening in April) but to be greater than the combined sales of the entire CCU, we could even be tempted to push our forecasts closer to $60m, by far a franchise-best. The film stars Taissa Farmiga and Demián Bichir as Sister Irene and Father Burke, who, in 50s Romania, are sent to investigate supernatural happenings in a Monastery.

Although it won’t reach the standards set by horror counter-part ‘It’ exactly 12 months ago, ‘The Nun’ will continue a successful period for Warner Bros after recent hits ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘The Meg’. It’ll mark the 5th weekend in a row where WB have topped the charts, and last weekend’s winner ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ aims to double the studio’s delight by earning $17m for second place. Nearly a month into its release, it now has a strong chance of equaling ‘Black Panther’s superb feat of remaining in the top 10 for 13 consecutive weekends.

This weekend also sees the release of STXEntertainment’s newest flick ‘Peppermint’, starring Jennifer Garner. Unlike ‘The Nun’, this vigilante-action film isn’t critic-proof, and its less-than-fresh 10% on Rotten Tomatoes will surely hinder any chances of a Box Office breakout. Director Pierre Morel, of ‘Taken’ fame, will hope it performs much like the Liam Neeson blockbuster, but will probably open closer to his next effort, ‘From Paris With Love’ ($8.2m), and likely match the similarly-themed ‘Proud Mary’s $10m.

Thriller ‘Searching’ expands into over 2,000 cinemas this weekend, which will see it leapfrog ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ with a gross around $5.5m, compared to ‘Fallout’s $5m. This won’t be enough to challenge ‘The Meg’ ($6.6m) for fourth place however, but will add some breathing room between it and last week’s newbie ‘Operation Finale’ ($3.6m).

The final new release of the week comes in the form of ‘not-quite-a-Christian-drama’ ‘God Bless The Broken Road’, directed by ‘God’s Not Dead’ helmer Harold Cronk. Based off a song (like March’s $83.5m breakout ‘I Can Only Imagine’) and starring Jordin Sparks, its 1,235 cinema count and 17% Rotten Tomatoes score won’t bless its Box Office numbers this weekend. An opening close to $2m won’t be enough to make the top ten, as it falls behind ‘Disney’s Christopher Robin’ ($3.5m), ‘Alpha’, and ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (both $2.7m).

All good things come to an end, as ‘The Nun’ seems likely to break ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ stay at the top. Could it really open to over $50m though, or will it fall short like its franchise predecessors? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Results: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is The Biggest Comedy Of The Year – After Just 20 Days!

Written by Dapo Olowu

After just three weekends in U.S. release, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ once again topped the charts to become the biggest grossing comedy of the year – ‘Deadpool 2’ not included. A $22m gross over the 3-day weekend marks an 11% fall from 7 days ago, allowing Jon Chu’s adaptation of the bestselling 2013 novel of the same name to hit a hattrick of consecutive number ones.

It left both shark-thriller ‘The Meg’, and ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ (which is just $50m away from breaking $700m worldwide) trailing its wake, with $10.5m and $7m respectively. Its Labor Day total brought in $28.6m, just below the 4-day record set by 2007s Halloween ($30.6m).

By Sunday night, the film had made $110.7m domestically, and currently sits at $117.3m – bigger than the global gross of the previous highest-earning comedy of the year ‘Game Night’, and even above 2017s sensation ‘Girls Trip’. It’s record-breaking $5.3m Australian opening (their biggest for a rom-com) gives the film a $20m overseas cushion, and by the time this sentence is over, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ will be sitting on $140m worldwide.

The biggest new release this weekend was MGM’s ‘Operation Finale’, the historical nazi-drama fronted by Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley. Opening on Wednesday, it earned $7.9m by the end of Monday night, including a $6m Friday to Sunday to put it just behind ‘Searching’s $6.1m. Not the best start for Chris Weitz’s $24m-budgeted flick, which hopes to leg it out post-summer.

The aforementioned ‘Searching’ brought in the weekend’s second best per-cinema average of $5k (after ‘Crazy Rich Asians’), as it played in only 1,200 cinemas but still finished fifth in the rankings. The thriller stars John Cho as David Kim, whose on the hunt for his missing daughter Margot (played by Michelle La). Its $8.1m domestic gross and $15.2m global take makes for a solid start after just 1 weekend in wide release.

In what was a true disappointment this weekend, comedy ‘The Happytime Murders’ capitulated by earning a lowly $4.4m. The gross fell below ‘Disney’s Christopher Robin’s $5.3m and ‘Alpha’s $4.5m, and will likely become Melissa McCarthy’s lowest grossing film as a lead. The only solace lies in the fact that it at least outgrossed ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and ‘Mile 22’, whose $4.2m and $3.8m earnings placed them 9th and 10th.

Finally, sci-fi action film ‘Kin’ is a certified flop, after earning just $3m from Friday to Sunday. This gross put it below a Disney expansion for ‘Incredibles 2’, which became the first animated film to ever make $600m domestically, by grossing $3.4m from 2,890 cinemas.

With the end of summer officially upon us, which film has surprised you the most? Can ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ continue its impressive Box Office run? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.  

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Weekend BO Predictions: It’s a Hattrick For ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ On Labor Day

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s holiday-time in the United States, with the 4-day Labor Day weekend promising terrifying lows, dizzying highs, and creamy middles. ‘The Simpsons’ references aside, the next few days will be particularly special for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, which aims to end the summer by becoming the first film since ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in May to top the Box Office charts for three weekends straight by earning around $24m. That’s just a 3% fall from last weekend and means that not even the three new wide releases – historical drama ‘Operation Finale’, John Cho’s ‘Searching’, and sci-fi ‘Kin’ – can realistically compete with.

By Saturday, Jon Chu’s romantic comedy would’ve passed $100m domestically, and by the end of Monday night, could land itself in the top 20 romantic comedies of all time in the U.S. With a 4-day weekend expected to be around the $29m mark (the extra day usually provides a 20% boost), it’s miles ahead of its nearest competitor ‘The Meg’, which will pull in a brilliant $11.5m from Friday to Sunday in its continued hunt for the $500m global total.

Next is new thriller ‘Searching’, the directorial debut of Aneesh Chaganty, which boasts an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Drawing similarities with Blumhouse’s 2014 hit ‘Unfriended’ for its ‘POV-of-computer screens’ style, it boasts the far superior critical reception, but its commercial success will be harmed by the underwhelming 1,200 cinema count.

Released last week in just 9 theatres, it earned a surprising $43k per-cinema average and an A on Cinemascore. Can the film, starring John Cho (‘Star Trek’, ‘Harold and Kumar’), Michelle La, and Debra Messing, defy the odds? Possibly. A 3-day gross around $7m is our optimistic view, and should be in amongst ‘The Happytime Murders’ and ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ for a 3rd place finish.

Looking to open close to ‘Searching’ is ‘Operation Finale’, with $5m. The historical drama, directed by Chris Weitz (‘Twilight: New Moon’, ‘About a Boy) and starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, and Melanie Laurent, opened on Wednesday to $1m, and tells the true story of the attempts to capture Nazi Adolf Eichmann in the early 60s. A recent Oscar Isaac period piece ‘The Promise’, bombed in the face of controversy with $12.4m worldwide off of a $90m budget, with its 49% on the Tomatometer only slightly worse than ‘Operation Finale’s 61%.

Its $5m gross will marginally improve upon ‘The Promise’s $4.1m, and its budget (around $20m) gives a little bit more breathing space. Still, this will struggle to make an impact against ‘Disney’s Christopher Robin’ ($6m) and ‘Alpha’ ($5.3m), but should have enough to see off ‘BlacKkKlansman’ ($4.7m) and ‘Kin’.

Kin’s the widest release of the newbies this weekend with over 2,000 cinemas, but will struggle the most to secure a top 10 finish. Not even James Franco and Zoe Kravitz can save this sci-fi action flick, with its 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, from being a flop. We’re seeing similarities between this and ‘The Darkest Minds’, which opened to $5.8m a month ago. The fact that ‘Kin’ doesn’t have the luxury of being based on a popular book, however, brings its estimated opening right down to about $4.6m.

With ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘The Meg’ proving to be runaway successes, this marks a fruitful period for book adaptations, which raises the question: did you see this coming? Let us know if you did or not on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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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)