Orders from Above (2021)

Adolf Eichmann (Peter J. Donnelly) has been captured and brought to Israel to stand trial. Without enough evidence to prosecute him, the job of getting a conviction falls to Israeli Mossad agent Avner Less (Richard Cotter).

The first full-length film directed and written by Vir Srinivas, this is a big concept: two men in one room discussing why the Holocaust happened, all shot in black and white.

At one point, after learning why Eichmann joined the German cause, Avner makes him stare at the direct result of his evil, as he plays graphic — and real — documentary footage of the mass burials within the extermination camps.

Where Eichmann claims that he was only following orders, saying “I was a small cog in the gigantic machine of the Third Reich,” Avner is his opposite, a man of convictions who stands in the way of execution until he the proper evidence to viewed.

What Avner finds is worse than he believed it could be: Eichmann is not some horror movie villain. Instead, he’s just a bureaucrat that coldly filed the paperwork to order at least six million people to die. That’s more frightening than someone baring their teeth and threatening you outright.

This feels like a stage play, but it works for film and takes advantage of the talents of its leads. Sure, it’s odd to hear both speak in Australian accents, but you get past it as the quality of the script is that good.

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