The Eichmann Show full movie review - Too bad that the rest of the story fell flat
In the 1960s the Israeli intelligence service tracked down and captured the former number one Nazi SS officer Adolph Eichmann from his hiding in Argentina.
He was responsible for the 'final solution' on the Jewish question, that is the systematic killings of Jews. In Jerusalem the Israeli government is holding a trial for Eichmann and they intend to televise the whole process. They had contracted New York based producer Milton Fruchtman to produce the TV program. Milton then hired Leo Hurwitz, a renowned documentary movie director to direct the show. Their first obstacle to face is the judges are having objections to the presence of cameras in the room, which they deem intimidating. So the production team staged the court room's walls with holes to accommodate the cameras. As the trial begins Leo immediately dances through the camera positions and zooms and pans and getting the additional dramatic effects the program needed.
But Milton gets frustrated over the fact that they are losing audience over other world politics issues such as the Cuban missile crisis and Russia's Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. The audience soon returns as the trial enters the witness testimonies, which stories touched the world deeply. Meanwhile Leo gets more and more obsessed in finding any little hint of humanity left within Eichmann, making him to focus the cameras on Eichmann frequently, to Milton's frustration. Milton barely escapes an assassination attempt and warns the team about their own personal safety. At last comes the moment in the trial where they show Eichmann the footage of the actual things happened in the concentration camps, to which Eichmann didn't flinch. Leo then gives up trying to proof his point about Eichmann as Eichmann is then sentenced to death.
The story proves to be quite a hard to judge in overall. As the movie focuses most on the production team, it has distanced itself from the Eichmann character entirely that Adolf Eichmann only existed as the background for this movie. So it's safe to say that the movie is not like what we would find in 1961's Judgment in Nuremberg. In fact in this movie there's no real interaction between Eichmann and the main characters at all.
Yet if we see it from the production team's perspective, the movie had done it's obligations in retelling all the things that matter about the trial's video production. But I personally feel that beside that main focus on the trial, the rest of the story felt pretty much flat. This is quite lame because the movie actually brought up a few potential sub stories, such as the ones with Milton and Leo's families, the ones about Yaakov, and the ones about Mrs. Landau.
Those being said, I have to say also that the movie reached it's aim in revisiting memories about the Holocaust by the use of the archival footage, not just the footage of the concentration camps, but also the footage of the actual witnesses and of Eichmann himself in the court room in the trial process. The movie's use of reenactments at times on the Eichmann side is to a good purpose. But I think that it's quite unwise to mingle those reenactments with the actual Eichmann archival footage.
The acting overall is quite a decent job in my view. Martin Freeman managed to retain his usual character of looking carefree and able to hide even threats to him in order to maintain his team's working spirit. He was also successful in projecting the wider spectrum of Milton Fruchtman's supposedly frustrated condition. Anthony LaPaglia also did well enough in portraying the cool handed and professional director. The extra mission about finding any hint of Eichmann's humanity is also depicted quite nicely by LaPaglia, even to the confrontations with Fruchtman.
My say is that The Eichmann Show (2015) deserves a 6 out of 10 score. I would've scored it more if only the rest of the story didn't feel so flat. A recommendation is only for those of you who really like history. Despite being able to be emotional at times, the movie is more informational than it is entertaining.