Movies: Operation Finale, Alpha, The Bookshop

Operation Finale

This film is about the pursuit and capture of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer that masterminded the logistics and the killing of 6 million innocent Jews during World War II.  In researching the background on this film, we discovered numerous details that were not quite accurate.  None of the disconnects really alter the content of the film much but is valued information for those seeking only the facts and the truth.

The cast includes 20 key characters.  Ben Kingsley plays Adolf Eichmann.  Oscar Issac plays the kidnapper.  English Actor Joe Alwyn plays Eichmann’s son.  Peter Malkin plays an Israeli Agent who spent 27 years with Israeli Intelligence tracking down Nazi criminals.

The movie is intense, with a quick pace and constant tension.  It feels real.  It is sometimes difficult to watch.  Much to our surprise it is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and related violent images and some language.  We do not recommend this film for children under 14.  It is listed as a Drama/Thriller running 2 hours, 3 minutes.

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Alpha

This film is enjoyable, quite unique and ultimately satisfying.  It’s set 20,000 years ago, apparently in Europe, although it would be hard to confirm or deny from the available information.

The beginning of the film is a bit awkward, early man and its primitive culture immediately prompts imagining early Native Americans and early buffalo hunts.  That said, we decided not to share more of those opening scenes because they are pivotal to the rest of the story.

The small international cast is impressive.  The 22 year old Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee is excellent as the tribe leader’s son.  Chilean actress Leonor Varela plays the Shaman Mom.  Swedish actor Jens Hulten play a tribal leader Xi.  Less than a dozen actors fill in the gaps.

Overall, the cinematography is front and center.  The focus on man and wolf is second next in line.  Survival is pivotal but third in line.  And there is a surprise ending that warms up the whole experience.  To be fair, this film will not be a threat to National Geographic but it is good film making and deserves an audience.

It is rated PG-13 for intensity but we think its fine for children.  It’s genre is noted as Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense running 97 minutes.

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The Bookshop

This is an interesting film if for no other reason than the tumultuous array of feedback on the internet.  It’s not a blockbuster or a major cinematic release, yet the posts on the web seem to create a major controversy.

In our opinion, it is a charming film loosely based on the 1978 novel by Penelope Fitzgerald.  The story is set in 1959 in an English coastal village in East Anglica.  It is about a war widow who decides to open a bookstore only to discover the forces of old money wealth and influence are in play to replace the bookstore with an art center.

The main reason to see this film is the cast.  Emily Mortimer plays the widow.  Patricia Clarkson plays a wealthy operative.  Bill Nighy is brilliant as the neighbor.  A half a dozen other actors fill out the remaining characters.

It is rated PG for some thematic elements, language and brief smoking.  It is listed as a drama and runs 113 minutes.  It is worth a watch if it fits your interest.

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