Israeli agents hunt a Nazi executioner.
“Operation Finale means to embody the banality of evil, but it’s mostly mired in plain old banality,” said Mike D’Angelo in AVClub.com. A dramatization of the true story of Adolf Eichmann’s 1960 capture, it “feels resoundingly Hollywood-phony” in countless moments. “Indeed, only the A-list cast distinguishes Operation Finale from a made-for-TV movie.” But forgive the director for steering too hard into thriller clichés, said Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly. Once the architect of Hitler’s Final Solution is apprehended in Argentina, the psychological duel that plays out between Ben Kingsley’s Eichmann and Oscar Isaac’s Peter Malkin “delivers the film’s most charged jolts of electricity.” Malkin, a Mossad agent, had to smuggle Eichmann out of Argentina in order to put him on trial, and “if you need any further proof that Isaac is a bona fide movie star, you’ll find it here.” Kingsley is equally strong, and his nuanced portrayal of Eichmann “offers a rebuke to the sentimental notion that the Nazis were an inhuman aberration,” said Ella Taylor in NPR.org. Unfortunately, the movie peddles an even more “vulgar” fiction: that, having dispatched one of the many perpetrators of the Holocaust, its victims experienced closure. ■