Yet another movie about the capture of Adolf Eichman, architect of the Nazis’ Final Solution of the Jewish Question. This one, directed by Chris Weitz, features two Hollywood stars - Ben Kingsley as Eichman and Oscar Isaac as Peter Malkin, the Mosad agent most responsible for his capture and, according to this movie, for the murderer’s final cooperation in Israel’s kidnap of an Argentine citizen. Living openly as Ricardo Klement, Eichman had a wife (the unrecognizable and little-used Greta Scacchi) and two children, one a handsome young man and one a toddler A young woman, briefly involved with the former, introduces him to her blind father who quickly figures out his father’s real identity and contacts Mosad with the information that Eichman is alive and well in Argentina.
A plan is hatched and Malkin is one of the leaders of the team designated to “catch and extract” him and bring him back to Israel alive for trial. There are the requisite number of false starts and obstacles and some questionable and unanswered events, primarily - the 10 day delay of the El Al plane supposed to transport the team back to Israel. We are never told why the plane was so seriously “delayed” - equivalent to the driver of the getaway car in a bank heist not showing up at the last minute. We also don’t understand why no one on this clever team is capable of forging Eichman’s signature on a release form necessary for him to be transported back to Israel. Instead of answers to these pivotal questions, we are given a far too lengthy interval of Oscar Isaac attempting to bond with Eichman in order to get the essential signature; scenes which include Eichman on the toilet (TMI), Isaac promising to let the mass murderer see his wife before he dies (disturbing) and a particularly jarring exchange between Isaac and his on-screen girlfriend who accuses him of making this “all about his pain” - an anachronistic concept that surely would not have entered the mind of an Israeli doctor working for Mosad in 1960, a brief 15 years after the holocaust decimated the Jews of Europe.
Eventually, the plan succeeds and the monster is brought to justice in an Israeli court where he is indicted on 15 counts of criminal behavior relating to the extermination of the Jews. Among other things, this involved Eichman ensuring the supply of gas for the chambers of Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Majdanek - Hitler’s death camps. Though Eichman was found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people and crimes against humanity and all the other charges, the movie claims only that he was found guilty of transporting millions of people to their deaths, a strange and misleading whitewash of the actual crimes and their perpetrator. This is such a profoundly unconscionable “finale” to this critical piece of history that it leaves one wondering how much of the rest of the movie is fictionalized or worse, slanted for political reasons or the desire to distribute the film in Germany.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here