Cat Critics: Operation Finale

Cat Critics: Operation Finale

Brooke Ontiveros, Staff Writer

The war is over. It has been for over fifteen years, but the man responsible for the death of six million Jews still roams free. In “Operation Finale,” a group of Israeli agents continue tracking down Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust who evaded justice for over a decade.

From a high school perspective, this movie was a lot to take in – not in a hard hitting way, not in a way that makes you shake in anger, consider your moral boundaries or push you to think. It was ‘a lot’ in the way a two-and-a-half hour movie often is: it was a lot of nothing.

In an attempt at originality, this movie did not explore the more obvious aspects of the Holocaust (that is, the experience of being in the camps themselves). No focus was put on Hitler, which was rather refreshing, but the downplaying of Holocaust survivors’ emotions created a gaping disconnect.

Nearly everyone on the Israeli team set up to catch Eichmann has a personal vendetta. For a brief moment, the characters expressed these motivations and it seemed like maybe this movie would succeed in connecting with the audience. In trying to be new and original, the characters were cut off with a badly-timed joke and dancing – another attempt at comedic relief that transforms into an overwhelming feeling of discomfort for the viewer.

Because of all this, there is little understanding behind the team’s personal motivation, but I could understand this if their goal was to observe former Nazis objectively. It could be a little more difficult to try and humanize Eichmann if his horrible transgressions were connected with a living face. The movie surrounds the former Nazis with aspects of normal life: family, work, and worries befitting a normal human.

Overall, their attempt at humanizing Eichmann was weak at best. The movie tries to redeem the Nazi by characterizing him as a “cog in the machine,” a mindless follower forced to murder innocents. Since Eichmann is aware of his imminent death, his last-minute repentance is understandably weak. Later on, though, Eichmann seems to revert to his original form for no apparent reason and taunts Peter Malkin (the main character), insinuating that his sister and child were killed by his hand. He adds that the closure they so desperately seek in his death is futile, going on to say that by investing so much in his life, the team is equating the lives of the six million dead Jews to his one awful evil lifeline.

Trying to make an audience sympathize with a world-renowned murderer behind the Holocaust is an incredible task that requires insane character development. The biggest crux of this movie, the thing that disengaged me from its message, was the weak contrast between the humanity in all of us and the evil within some. Eichmann murdered indiscriminately and therefore deserves no empathy from the world – though he is a human, the movie failed hard at trying to show this concept, despite pursuing the idea for nearly the entire running time.


Movie hack:  Theaters 7, 8, 9, and 10 at Regal Lone Star 19 have upstairs exits/entrances with nearby bathrooms.