Oscar Isaac– we’ve known him for what seems like a long time, he’s one of the best and the brightest of this generation’s movie stars.
You know him from “Star Wars” where he’s Poe Dameron, ace pilot and hot head. Next month he’ll open in “Life Itself” from “This is Us” creator Dan Fogelman. But next week he stars in a serious World War II thriller called “Operation Finale” which Isaac produced with his manager, Jason Spire. It was a labor of love that turns out to be a searing, engrossing film about the hunting of real life international criminal and Hitler henchman Adolph Eichmann in Argentina some 15 years after the war ended. It’s a must-see film that has awards buzz written all over it.
There could be an Oscar for Oscar. That alone is a tantalizing idea.
Last week, Isaac, co-stars Joe Alwyn and Sir Ben Kingsley attended the New York premiere of their new film at the Walter Reade Theater. Isaac stars as Mossad secret agent Peter Malkin in Chris Weitz’s meaty suspense thriller about the covert operation to abduct Adolf Eichmann (Sir Ben Kingsley), the logistical ringleader of the Final solution, off the back streets of Argentina in the 60’s. (Malkin’s real-life son, Omer Malkin, attended the premiere and afterparty.)
Although many people remember Eichmann’s trial, which was broadcast on television, few people remember the details of “extracting” Eichman from his Argentinian home, where he’d been hiding since WWII. Argentina was a haven for Nazi war criminals, where they were protected and hidden.
It’s a credit to the film that even though most viewers will know from the beginning that Eichmann will stand trial in Israel — at least most people of a certain age — the moviei unspools like an old-fashioned thriller and never lets up the suspense in its nearly 2 1/2 hours running time. The pace is helped immeasurably by the fantastic soundtrack by legendary composer Alexandre Desplat.
At the after party at the luxurious, glass enclosed Lincoln Restaurant, I congratulated Isaac and reminded him that the last time I saw him was at the junket for “The Promise,” about the Armenia genocide, a tragedy he wasn’t aware of before making the film. He knew about the Holocaust of course but was happy to be involved this film at a time when Holocaust denial is on the rise in Europe, along with anti-Semitism, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. “A lot of young people don’t know about this period of history,” he told me.