29 August 2018 | rgkarim
It's the Finale Countdown
History teaches us many lessons, but sadly we sometimes are still too stubborn to learn when it things come wrapped in a convenient, shiny package. Still, there are movies still trying to use their bucks to teach lessons in the tales they have to share. Tonight, yours truly attended the showing of the latest historical, biography, drama that hopes to make a mark. What is in store? As always please read to find out as I review:
Movie: Operation Finale (2018)
Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Mélanie Laurent
Pacing: For the most part, a drama like this is often slower than the movies I prefer, yet Operation Finale managed to meet this expectation. A brisk pace that allowed for detail, the audience was more than capable of finding that balance to tell it's tale and not leave me falling asleep.
The Class: A Holocaust movie always runs the risk of diving into the dark, deep end of the horror pool, which can be hard to watch. Again, Weltz and his team found the balance of making references to the horrible event, but adding a filter that alludes to the event without showing too much. The result is crafting a piece of work that respectfully shows the events, but not in the distasteful display that many movies relish in. As such, it doesn't downplay the significance it, but rather integrates into the story.
The Relevance of Characters: A stuffed group into 2 hours is not easy to do, but Operation Finale made sure to integrate as many of the characters as possible and give a point to their inclusion. No matter how small the role, each character has contributed to the operation in some manner to warrant their time on the silver screen.
The History/Moral Lesson: The movie set out to teach lessons, and it certainly did. History comes in a variety of forms, but this movie certainly felt like a visual book (yes I get the irony), still it's an integrated piece of work that achieves the story telling history strives to obtain. And like history, the moral lessons involves are poetically delivered without all the preachy planned speeches Hollywood writers love. It's the realism and musical score that drive all these lessons home, and a fantastic future for using this movie for teaching classes.
The Acting: The movie's bread and butter though is the acting. Character integration required a lot of dynamic play off of each other, and our cast was up to the challenge of bringing it to life. At this point, all the secondary/supporting characters get a nod for their work, each member feeling like a part of the team that held their own emotional charge towards the common goal. However, the key pillars of the movie are Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac the leads of the film. Isaac trades his X-Wing uniform for a more modest suit, and adapts the strong emotional power of an Israeli Jewish man forced to confront a lot of baggage. It's realistic, powerful, and the anchor to which much of the movie relies on and he rocks it. As for Kingsley, the man is a legend for a reason and he beautifully opens the door of the antagonist role and the complexity that can come with it. Another balance of emotional prowess, the man will keep you guessing at what lies within the dark mind of the German War Elite. The two together play a game of cat and mouse, and while not filled with gun play, or car chases, it's this emotional tug of war that is immersive and kept me into the drama at hand. Bravo to the casting director for bringing these powerhouses together.
The Pace at times: Pacing is mostly good, but there are some slower moments that didn't have quite the oomph that the rest of the movie did. These parts bloated the movie more and didn't quite deliver the punch for me. Small dislike, but it leads me to the next limitation for me.
The Length: The movie worked to portray a lot of angles on this historical event. Operation Finale didn't quite need to be over 2 hours for me, with probably at least 20 minutes being edited out with ease. I see where it is going with the length to try and pay homage to those who lost their lives to the greatest tragedy, but in regards to the story it didn't quite need the extra time. Especially, when it comes to my next dislike.
The Other Character Stories: A lot of characters were introduced at the beginning, each played up for their emotional struggles to bring the former Nazi to justice. And after a prolonged intro, many of the characters kind of stopped there. Operation Finale showed potential for very deep characters, and while the leads got the most dive into the psyche, the rest of the cast kind of got a fly over. More integration and struggle would have been much appreciated for me to help further bring the group to life. It's not that the others were bad, but by explaining them a little more, the movie might have better utilized the 2 hours it had to have. While the secondary crew accomplished their mission, some more tweaking could have strengthened things.
For a historical drama. Operation Finale was one of the better ones to grace the silver screen in recent years. While nothing like the legendary historical dramas that came before it, this film struck a balance I appreciated between historical presentation and dramatizing moments. The two lead actors soared with their chemistry and by working around this entropy favored performance, brought the heart and soul of the cinematic work to life. Still, the movie needs a little tweaking in investing in other characters to justify being greater than 2 hours as well as editing a few things out. Still, this movie is probably a great example of classic story telling, and that element justifies the theater visit despite a lack of Big Screen effects. Still, give this one a try when you can, I think you will enjoy it.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0