Review of 'Anthropoid'

anthropoid.jpg Based on the true story of the second world war “Operation Anthropoid” mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich (played here by Detlef Bothe), third in command of the German forces and architect of the “Final Solution” and leader of the occupying forces in Czechoslovakia. Under top secret orders from the British Government two agents from the government in exile Jozef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan KubiÅ¡ (Jamie Dornan) parachute into Czechoslovakia and head to Prague where the general is based. The small Czech Resistance are initially reluctant to assist but eventually the operation proceeds with disastrous results when events force their hand. With the team in hiding in the crypt beneath a church the German army metes out it's revenge against the Czech people, killing many in their search. Will they be found? How can they escape?

My knowledge of history is sketchy at best so this story was completely new to me. It is not a fun watch with a lot of death and destruction but the bravery shown by these men against incredible odds and contrary to the advice of the locals is truly inspiring. There is a side story of love that is, of course, doomed from the start. Watching a brief documentary on the making of the film I was impressed as to the effort the filmmakers went to to tell the story accurately and without prejudice to the extent of recreating the church used in the second half of the film in fastidious detail. The filmmakers obviously cared very much for this film and it really shows. The effects are top rate and the film is entirely believable which makes it all the more heart breaking. It is important to remember these things. Having said that I found myself on occasion shutting my eyes to block myself from the horrors on screen. Moving.

Murphy and Dornan put in amazing performances as the two agents leading the operation. Utterly convincing and with such conviction it is incredible to watch them on the screens. Murphy as the single-minded assassin is often frighteningly cold yet we see a deep compassion behind his character. In the middle of plotting Dornan is at a loss with his feelings of love for a young woman that he knows is never to be yet is helpless in it's power.

A horrible story but told with brutal honesty. A tale of bravery and heroism from a dark time of human history. Very powerful.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-08-13

Directed by: Sean Ellis

Studio: LD Entertainment

Year: 2016

Length: 120 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure