‘Operation Finale’ Movie Review: Oscar Isaac Stars in This Intense Thriller

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“I would happily put a bullet through his eyes, but that’s not what we’re doing here. This is strictly catch and extract,” says Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) to Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent) while trying to convince her to join his team of Mossad agents who are trying to bring to justice a major Nazi war criminal in the dramatic thriller, Operation Finale.

The film takes place in the early 1960s when Israel’s intelligence agency discovers the location of the high-ranking Nazi officer who’s credited with coming up with “The Final Solution” for Hitler, Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). It seems Eichmann was able to escape during the chaos at the end of WWII and has made a new life for himself, his wife, and his sons in Buenos Aires, Argentina under new identities. Not wanting to just execute the war criminal but to have him stand trial in Israel for his crimes, the head of Mossad assigns agent Peter Malkin and his team to sneak into the country, kidnap Eichmann, and smuggle him out of Argentina to Israel.


Things quickly become incredibly difficult, complicated, and dangerous for Malkin and his team. After they kidnap Eichmann and take him to their safe house, one problem and political complication after another arise forcing Malkin to enter into an intense intellectual game of cat and mouse with the former Nazi official.

Based on historical events, Operation Finale is an extremely compelling and engaging war/spy thriller with brilliant performances by both Oscar Isaac and Sir Ben Kingsley. It’s a fascinating true-life story of bringing to justice one of the most evil and heinous men ever to walk the earth and provides an behind-the-scenes look at all the risks involved in the undertaking.

Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) delivers a powerful performance as Peter Malkin, the Mossad agent who usually executes those he hunts and is very efficient at it. Isaac displays wonderfully the conflict inside Malkin who would like nothing more than to execute Eichmann but resists so that his country can have their public trial to make the world aware of all Eichmann’s unspeakable acts.

Ben Kingsley (Schindler’s List) once again gives nothing less than an unforgettable performance as war criminal Adolf Eichmann who’s trying to peacefully live out the rest of his life with his family in Argentina. When he’s taken by Peter and interrogated, Eichmann slowly begins to reveal that he believes his acts and crimes during WWII were justified and necessary. The interrogation scenes between Isaac and Kingsley are the best in the film, with incredible intensity and strong emotions displayed by these incredible actors.

The direction by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), production design, and cinematography are all superb, bringing back 1960s Israel and Argentina beautifully and at times terrifyingly as well.

Intense and fascinating, Operation Finale is an extremely well-crafted, suspenseful spy thriller with amazing performances from its two leading men. It’s one of this year’s best films thus far.

GRADE: A-

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and related violent images, and for some language.

Running Time: 118 minutes

Release Date: August 29, 2018

Operation Finale Cast

Mélanie Laurent as Hanna Regev, Oscar Isaac as Peter Malkin, Nick Kroll as Rafi Eitan, Michael Aronov as Zvi Aharoni, and Greg Hill as Moshe Tabor in ‘Operation Finale’ (Photo Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)




Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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