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Thread: Operation Finale (Chris Weitz)

  1. #1
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Operation Finale (Chris Weitz)


  2. #2
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    I had high expectations for this film, not only because a lot of acquaintances of mine worked in it in some capacity (it's shot in Buenos Aires, Hurlingham and Bariloche) but because the true story of how they smuggled Eichmann out of Argentina is fascinating.

    First, the good. The 1960 setting is wonderfully researched and done. After seeing an entire history of goofy depictions of my country (such as Villa Gesell, a coast city, with mountain tops in X-Men: First Class) it's refreshing to see not only what the suburbs of Buenos Aires would have looked that in the time setting but also the attitudes, customs and political scenarios accurately depicted. The cast is uniformly excellent, and the scenes of Isaac and Kingsley having a showdown are predictably excellent. It's pretty funny to me how Inglourious Basterds typecasted a lot of actors and now we're seeing Brad Pitt as a WWII soldier/spy and Mélanie Laurent as a vengeful Jew in any other movie.

    The bad is not so bad come to think about it. This is still a Hollywood movie crafted by Chris Weitz and many scenes are clichéd to a fault - the "getting the reluctant member of the team (Laurent) to join" moment and the shaving scene are basically codeword bits we've seen too many times before and it would have been nice to see this film put a spin on them. In fact, the Laurent character as a whole is a bad idea. She's fictionally added to the cast presumably to have a love interest in a story that didn't really need one and, for all the attention to detail that was put into creating the period setting, it was pretty jarring to see a woman nurse being so respected and listened to in a military setting.

  3. #3
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    In fact, the Laurent character as a whole is a bad idea. She's fictionally added to the cast presumably to have a love interest in a story that didn't really need one and, for all the attention to detail that was put into creating the period setting, it was pretty jarring to see a woman nurse being so respected and listened to in a military setting.
    By curious coincidence, I read the book this film was based on.

    From memory, the team was an even mix of men and women. It wasn't like a half dozen commandoes and a nurse. (Israel has always been more egalitarian than other nations; they've had to be.) I don't think anyone says the name onscreen, but it was a MOSSAD operation, not military.

    As for the rest of it, ugh. I choked on the cliches you mention. Outside a handful of conversations between Isaac and Kingsley, this material is boilerplate spy-thriller stuff. The book was a little better in presenting thorny ethical issues and was brave enough to depict Eichmann as a human being (as opposed to the film's version, which is sorta a quiet version of Hannibal Lecter).

    Anway, I'm glad you've seen this because I've wanted to ask an Argentine this question for literally over a decade: What do you think of Israel violating your national sovereignty? On one hand, I have no problem with it. They did what they had to do. On the other, a voice in the back of my head complains that it's a little fucked up. But then I'm looking at this comfortably from the outside.

  4. #4
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    From memory, the team was an even mix of men and women. It wasn't like a half dozen commandoes and a nurse. (Israel has always been more egalitarian than other nations; they've had to be.) I don't think anyone says the name onscreen, but it was a MOSSAD operation, not military.
    Yeah, after writing that (poorly redacted) blurb I read a bit about the real life operation and it's like you say. I also noticed that MOSSAD was never mentioned by name and neither was the Simon Weisenthal foundation if I recall correctly.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    As for the rest of it, ugh. I choked on the cliches you mention. Outside a handful of conversations between Isaac and Kingsley, this material is boilerplate spy-thriller stuff. The book was a little better in presenting thorny ethical issues and was brave enough to depict Eichmann as a human being (as opposed to the film's version, which is sorta a quiet version of Hannibal Lecter).
    Looking back on the film now, yeah, the screenplay is filled with outrageous clichés and it could have easily been a much better movie. But I disagree with your assessment of movie Eichmann as a character - of course, I haven't read the same literature as you.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    Anway, I'm glad you've seen this because I've wanted to ask an Argentine this question for literally over a decade: What do you think of Israel violating your national sovereignty? On one hand, I have no problem with it. They did what they had to do. On the other, a voice in the back of my head complains that it's a little fucked up. But then I'm looking at this comfortably from the outside.
    It is fucked up but you have to understand that Eichmann wasn't hiding in Argentina by his own means. Perón's 1940s government (and it pains me to say this because I sympathize with almost everything else that happened during that period) welcomed him and plenty of other Nazis with open arms and gave them new identities and papers - presumably out of loyalty to Mussolini in particular and the Axis in general. This movie takes place in 1960 when Frondizi was President. By that time a coup d'etat had exiled Perón from the country, declared his party illegal and actually forbade speaking his name out loud in public. Still, it's speculated that Frondizi only won because he made a deal with Perón who, from exile, commanded his followers to vote for him. It was an unstable democracy and there were plenty of radical Peronists (I remember a scene in this film where a couple of them are arrested and a bomb was detonated inside a car) who only wanted to bring him back to the country by any means necessary. In that political context, I doubt Frondizi would have collaborated with the Israeli government.

    To be honest if I'm going to be pissed off at violations of national sovereignty, Operation Condor takes the cake.
    Last edited by Grouchy; 12-21-2018 at 04:59 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy
    It is fucked up but you have to understand that Eichmann wasn't hiding in Argentina by his own means. Perón's 1940s government (and it pains me to say this because I sympathize with almost everything else that happened during that period) welcomed him and plenty of other Nazis with open arms and gave them new identities and papers - presumably out of loyalty to Mussolini in particular and the Axis in general. This movie takes place in 1960 when Frondizi was President. By that time a coup d'etat had exiled Perón from the country, declared his party illegal and actually forbade speaking his name out loud in public. Still, it's speculated that Frondizi only won because he made a deal with Perón who, from exile, commanded his followers to vote for him. It was an unstable democracy and there were plenty of radical Peronists (I remember a scene in this film where a couple of them are arrested and a bomb was detonated inside a car) who only wanted to bring him back to the country by any means necessary. In that political context, I doubt Frondizi would have collaborated with the Israeli government.
    Thanks so much for this response. It's an education for me.

    To be honest if I'm going to be pissed off at violations of national sovereignty, Operation Condor takes the cake.
    Oh yeah. That was much, much worse.

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