Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Thanks to MGM for inviting me to an advanced screening of this film for the purposes of review.
When it comes to the genre of World War II films, there has been a clear over-saturation in terms of the number of films being produced and released. This trend has prevailed over decades and even though highlights like Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge may have prevailed in their respective years, there are still a large number of films that don’t quite live up to the mystification and grandeur of their historical era. At a quick glance during the first act of the film, that quality seemed to be able to be attached to Oscar Isaac’s new film Operation Finale, a film that chronicles the daring true story about how one of the most daring historical missions was brought about. It had a weak and clichéd screenplay littered with critical issues from its characterization to even its uncannily unrealistic dialogue. It displayed performances that even from top-notch actors, like Joe Alwyn’s Klaus Eichmann, that appeared uninspired and phony. However, following a shockingly fast development of events and the introduction of more screen time for the brilliant performance from Ben Kingsley, Operation Finale quickly escalates into a much faster, wittier, smarter, and overall better experience thanks to a fascinating dynamic between the performances of both Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley. Without these two actors, the film is nothing other than a drab and overbearing thriller. But with these two stellar performances, Operation Finale becomes a high-staked thriller that may have critical pacing and writing issues in its screenplay but still mostly passes thanks to an interesting dynamic between two wholly different characters.
As mentioned previously, Operation Finale has serious issues within its screenplay. It continues the snarky recent trend of having little originality in both the story and storytelling. There isn’t any aspect to the film that feels remotely fresh. While making a film, especially in such a tired and worn-out genre, fresh is certainly a difficult challenge, Operation Finale doesn’t even attempt to tackle the task. Every scene’s writing, from its pandering dialogue to the staggering pacing, feels outsourced from other and better films. In addition, the film also features one of the most inconsistent pacing of any recent entertainment releases that I have experienced recently. Bouncing between from a high-staked, stylish heist film to a slow and drab, dialogue-driven political film with the gracefulness of a child creates a rare illusion of disbelief. There are simply too many changing cogs in the machine that is Operation Finale to create both a coherent tone and style.