Oscar Isaac, better known in the Star Wars universe as Poe Dameron, just had one of his more overlooked movies added to the streaming giant Netflix in the USA, and if you’re into slow burns and historical dramas, then his 2018 film Operation Finale is the movie for you.
Operation Finale is based on the true historical events concerning the hunt for Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who was said to have been the mastermind behind the Holocaust. Oscar Isaac plays real-life Israeli officer Peter Malkin, who was part of a Mossad team sent to Argentina to capture the elusive Eichmann, here played by Ben Kingsley. Operation Finale was partially based on the memoir Eichmann in My Hands written by Malkin.
As World War II ended, a few of the top Nazi officers, which included Eichmann who was the “world’s most wanted Nazi”, as well as Josef “Angel of Death” Mengele, Walter Rauff, and others, either escaped to Argentina or committed suicide so they wouldn’t be captured. Eichmann escaped to Argentina.
Operation Finale finds Oscar Isaac’s Malkin with a damaged reputation for killing the wrong person while hunting a Nazi war criminal in Austria. Over in Argentina, Sylvia Hermann, played by Haley Lu Richardson, begins to date a young gentleman named Klaus. Unbeknownst to her, Klaus is the son of Adolf Eichmann. During a dinner with Klaus and Sylvia’s father Lothar (Peter Strauss), Klaus begins to talk negatively about Jews in Germany while also claiming that his father died in the war. But Lothar begins to become suspicious of Klaus and decides to pass his name along to Mossad. When Klaus then takes Sylvia to a meeting, she abruptly leaves when she realizes it was a Nazi revival. She ends her relationship with Klaus.
But Mossad has different ideas. They convince Sylvia to work with them so she meets the Eichmann family at their home for a reconciliation with Klaus. A brief argument between Sylvia and Klaus forces Adolf, who is living under the name of Ricardo Clement and posing as Klaus’s uncle, to step in, when Klaus accidentally calls him father. The Mossad agents watching him finally get his picture and know they finally have Eichmann.
Oscar Isaac’s Malkin is brought back aboard Mossad to help plan the capture of Eichmann. When they finally get the Nazi officer, the task becomes more difficult when the Israeli airline refuses to transport Eichmann unless he signs an affidavit stating he is willfully going to Israel, which he refuses to sign, thinking he won’t get a fair trial. The cat and mouse game between Peter and Adolf begins with Peter finally getting Adolf to change his mind after sharing a story of his sister and her three children who were killed during the Holocaust. Eichmann told his story convincingly that his job only focused on the logistics and nothing else.
Meanwhile, Klaus has been desperately trying to track down his father, delaying the plane’s take off. During this time, Adolf finally drops his polite façade. He relays to Peter the horrific story of how he watched 5,000 Jews murdered in a large pit, wondering out loud if perhaps it was Peter’s sister who was the woman who begged Eichmann to save her infant child.
If you don’t know the story of Eichmann, his capture, and how his story ends, we won’t spoil it for you. The movie takes its time getting to where it needs to go, but it is a good, albeit sad and at times horrific, watch. Kingsley chews the scenery as Eichmann and Oscar Isaac holds his own opposite Kingsley.
Oscar Isaac became a popular name when he took on the role as Poe Dameron in 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens following that up when he reprised his role as Dameron in both Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker as well as voicing that same character in the TV series Star Wars Resistance. But Isaac is also known for his roles in Robin Hood, Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina, and X-Men: Apocalypse.
Because of the nature of the movie, it wasn’t well-received at the box office. It was made between $20-24 million but was only able to bring back $17.6 of that. Not because the movie received poor reviews critically, it was just not a high-profile movie and required patience. Poor combination in this day and age. With its revival on Netflix, though, it is sure to find an audience. Critically, the movie received good reviews, standing at 60% favorable on Rotten Tomatoes. Our own Giant Freakin Movie Score brings it in at a decent 6.3/10.
For Oscar Isaac, he will next be seen as Marc Spector in Marvel’s Moon Knight, set to premiere on Disney+. It has also been recently announced that Isaac will also headline the feature Metal Gear Solid as Solid Snake. But until that time, fire up Netflix, kick back, relax, and watch Isaac as a Nazi-hunting Mossad agent in Operation Finale.