A scene from EICHMANN, a film directed by Robert Young. Copyright © 2009 Regent Releasing. All rights reserved.

Eichmann (2007/2010)

Opened: 10/29/2010 Limited

Sunset 5/LA10/29/2010 - 11/04/20107 days
Quad Cinema/NYC11/12/2010 - 11/18/20107 days

Trailer: Click here to view at Apple Trailers

Genre: Biographical War Drama (English)

Rated: Unrated

Short Synopsis

Based upon the final confession of Adolf Eichmann, made before his execution in Israel as he accounts to Captain Avner Less (Troy Garity, "Soldier's Girl", "Sunshine"), a young Israeli Police Officer, of his past as the architect of Hitler's plan for the "final solution." Captured by intelligence operatives in Argentina fifteen years after World War II, Eichmann, (Thomas Kretschmann, "The Pianist", "Valkyrie"), the world's most wanted man, must be broken down and the truth unveiled. As the world waits, two men must confront each other in a battle of wills-the end result of which will change a nation forever. Also stars Franka Potente ("Run Lola Run", "The Bourne Identity") and Stephen Fry ("Valkyrie", "V for Vendetta").

Long Synopsis

"Eichmann" spans two decades in the life of notorious war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, from the conflict of the Second World War in Europe, to his imprisonment in Israel in 1960. Avner Less, a young Israeli police officer, is assigned to interrogate Eichmann within the strict guidelines of the law. The wily old fox managed to elude authorities for 15 years, and now sits cool and calm under pressure, confident in the fact that substantive proof has disappeared over time. Avner's job seems impossible, given the lack of evidence and the protocols imposed upon him, aided by the fact that Less' friends, countrymen and even his own family view the proceedings as an insult and an outrage. He is continually badgered by his superiors to deliver a swift and definitive admission of guilt. His wife falls ill from stress, as the family is beset by violent protest that makes them fear for their lives, and besieged by fury from all sides. Pariahs in the truest sense, no one even wants to be seen with them.

A formidable opponent in the interrogation room, Eichmann displays shrewd intelligence and skill as a manipulator. Flashbacks reveal his megalomaniacal nature, working as a second-rate administrator who enjoyed his role in implementing the Final Solution. His prurient predilections were visited upon a variety of helpless women. Ever opportunistic, he took full advantage of the spoils of war and lavished his like minded-mistresses with gifts. Less penetrates Eichmann's defenses using the only tools at his disposal: discernment and perseverance. His success is due to a talent for intensely perceptive attention to nuance in facial expression and speech pattern. Ultimately, Less discovers that Eichmann's innate mediocrity combined with malignant narcissism led to the perverse pleasures he took in his gruesome pursuits.

Production Notes

This film is based on the transcripts of Eichmann's pre-trial interrogation as he accounts to Captain Avner Les, a young Israeli police officer, of his past as the architect of Hitler's plan for the final solution and the deaths of over 6 million innocent people.

Spanning two decades, the film encompasses the conflict of the Second World War in Europe and the young nation of Israel in 1960, where the protagonist Avner Les, a German Jew, is our unassuming hero. He has the unenviable tasks of extracting some of the darkest secrets of the Nazi era -- secrets which, he discovers, directly affect his own past.

Ordered to interrogate Adolf Eichmann -- who had been hiding in Argentina for the past fifteen years, working as a chicken farmer and car salesman -- Avner must break down the former SS officer who is preparing his defense of the indefensible.

Avner's task is made all the more difficult for the fact that his friends and countrymen -- even his own family -- see it as an insult that Eichmann be interrogated at all and not simply led to the noose. Avner's wife and children also bear his burden; his wife's already fragile health takes a turn for the worse due to the stress caused by threats made to her and her family. For Avner, pressure comes from all directions -- his superiors require a swift and clear admission of guilt from Eichmann.

The film inter-cuts the interrogation with Eichmann as the family man, patiently explaining his philosophy of life and his unspeakable crimes against humanity, with flashbacks of Eichmann's past during the Second World War. It is during these flashbacks where the chilling reality of the power he wielded is fully realized -- this is the second setting of the film -- 1940 Germany and Hungary at the height and then fall of the Nazi regime. We are witness to the horror of how directly involved Eichmann was in the planning, organization and implementation of the Holocaust -- how he carried out his "orders" with such zeal and enthusiasm. We also bear witness to his opportunistic nature, taking land, money and human labor for his own means, as well as several infamous mistresses.

The film dispels the notion of the "banality of evil," and explores the nature of evil and the crimes of man against humanity. It is through Avner we see that behind the cool, calm exterior of Eichmann in the 1960s lays the dark truth of a monster -- a man with no discernable talents, yet capable of causing mass murder and destruction to the Jewish People. He knew what he was doing, and also somehow knew that this day would come and that he would have to attest and atone for his past.

Eichmann explains to his interrogator how he has resolved his own conscience, drawing upon similarities in the two men's lives; no greater insult is possible for Avner; a German Jew forced to flee to Israel from a world of Eichmann's creation. Yet he must continue, as this is a task like no other and one that would change a nation forever.