OPERATION FINALE: The daring capture of fugitive Nazi war criminal and Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) in Argentina by Israeli Mossad agents was newsworthy enough to spawn at least three television movies. But this first big screen version has a small screen feel to it by de-emphasizing the depth and scope of the real life operation in favor of personal dramas. Matthew Orton’s screenplay is divided into three segments and begins with the assembly of the extraction squad who all have their not so hidden agendas of personal vengeance for carrying out their assignment. The actual sequence where Eichmann is nabbed moves with a sort of disappointing deliberateness that one normally encounters watching a Big 10 football game. But it’s the middle portion of the movie where the former Nazi in hiding is kept in a safe house to face his captor accusers that the film begins to hit a sort of stride. Especially effective is the interplay between the leader of the operation (Oscar Isaac) who’s charged with trying to persuade Eichmann to sign off on being extradited to Israel to face what the latter believes will be a pre-determined show trial. The final act centers around the agents sneaking Eichmann out of Argentina where he’s been shielded by Nazi sympathizers and the police in Buenos Aires. It’s a sequence where the pacing comes off as hurried without any real suspense actually being generated before shifting to the concluding archived footage of his trial where real drama could have been generated from the testimony of accusers in the same fashion as JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961) which still remains as the definitive Nazi war crimes trial film. But for all of its deficiencies as well as its abbreviated reductiveness, the movie is workmanlike in its’ delivery and presentation that’s highlighted by solid performances from Isaac (EX MACHINA) and Kingsley (SCHINDLER’S LIST) who never allows his character to degenerate into a symbol of pure evil that would have rendered this work as being clichéd. CRITIC’S GRADE: B-

CLOSING CREDITS: Early in his career, a young Burt Reynolds was told by Spencer Tracy (GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?) that “acting is easy as long as nobody catches you doing it”. Here are some good movies starring Burt Reynolds, who died on September 6, where he made acting look easy because no one caught him “doing it”. – NAVAJO JOE (1967), DELIVERANCE (1972), EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK) (1972), THE MAN WHO LOVED CAT DANCING (1973), SHAMUS (1973), THE LONGEST YARD (1974), NICKELODEON (1976), SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (1977), THE END (1978)*, HOOPER (1978), STARTING OVER (1979), SWITCHING CHANNELS (1988), CITIZEN RUTH (1996), BEAN (1997), BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)**

*Directed and Starred In The Movie

**Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor