I think Indiana Jones said it best with his iconic line, “Nazis, I hate these guys.” In years past, the cinema has given us some gems that are Holocaust-adjacent in nature; films like Inglourious Basterds and Sophie’s Choice in addition to more on-the-nose pictures like Schindler’s List.
These are examples of well-done films that — each, in thair own way — got it right. That’s no small feat when it comes to discussing arguably the worst moment in the history of the world.
These days, oddly enough, we seem to be seeing more Nazi activity in the actual news than we do in the darkness of a movie theater. In this particular retelling of the events that scarred us so irrevocably, we meet Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) — a man who is most well-known for aiding in justice being served for millions.
Still reeling from the loss of his loved ones, Peter is working with the Mossad — Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations — to track down what the man who devised the plans and oversaw the execution The Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). With the help of fellow Mossad agents Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll), Zvi Aharoni (Michael Aronov), and his former flame/current doctor, Hanna (Mélanie Laurent), Peter lays the plans to capture and bring to trial the man who took so much from him.
Finale essentially follows the plotting of the apprehension of Eichmann and the subsequent stress surrounding the imprisonment of a former SS–Obersturmbannführer in the upstairs of a rented home for the span of about a week.
I hesitate to slander a film centered around such delicate subject matter, but outside of solid performances all around, the film felt a bit stale. The story is compelling, certainly, but the delivery is sorely lacking. It all feels a bit cluttered and disorganized.
While I appreciate the sentiment behind this brand of narrative, Finale just can’t seem to stick the landing. It’s unfortunate, but I feel there is a specific formula to movies like this one, and if it isn’t done just so, it will likely flop. Regrettably, that appears to be the case here.
Now that I’ve gotten formalities out of the way, I’d like to also comment on something else — the accents in this movie confuse me! Either I don’t understand how accents work, or the filmmakers themselves don’t. It seemed strange to me that Ben Kingsley sounded so British, because Adolf Eichmann was most certainly German. And then Oscar Isaac — playing an Israeli man — sounded as American as my mother who lives in Wisconsin. Maybe I’m wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time, but it was perplexing.
To wrap up, I’ll say this, Operation Finale is a movie I would likely Nazi again. That pun is about as good as the movie itself.