By Liz Lopez
The title for the film Anthropoid might initially have Sci-Fi fans wondering if this is a new summer blockbuster, but in fact, it is about Operation Anthropoid, the code name for the 1940’s mission to assassinate a top-ranking Nazi officer, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague. Sean Ellis directs the film based on the screenplay he co-wrote with Anthony Frewin, recreating the defiant act by a handful of citizens who rebelled against the country’s harsh rule. Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Cillian Murphy (In the Heart of the Sea, Transcendence) star as the two leading operatives, Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčík, who parachute their way back from London to their home country to lead the effort.
They are aware of the danger they are in, but it will likely bring to their fellow citizens should their mission fail, including the remaining local resistance group member, Uncle Hajský (Toby Jones). This definitely includes two attractive Czech women pretending to be their girlfriends, Marie (Charlotte Le Bon) and Lenka (Anna Geislerová), as well as the host family members, the Moravecs and their violinist son (portrayed by Alena Mihulová, Pavel Reznícek and Bill Milner).
Dornan and Murphy are excellent in the roles as soldiers, but also do very well to demonstrate how normal they try to remain, including falling for the lady escorts, as well as getting a real case of nerves and doubts before their mission. In one scene, Dornan’s character appears to want to throw in the towel. Murphy’s character helps to keep him focused leading up to the day of the deed, but to their surprise, one of their local collaborators does not show up. The newly improvised game plan does not quite go off as needed.
There is one scene that is disappointing and appears to be taken from another film when the ladies with the baby carriage show up in the midst of what will soon be the gun battle scene with the Nazi officers. I won’t disclose more now, but when the audience views it, well the “seen it” comment may be heard.
With a semi – failed attempt, Jan, Josef and the other resistance soldiers involved find refuge and hide in the basement of a church in Prague. When Heydrich does pass away, the Reich reacts by finding all who are involved to stop further efforts of rebellion with their unending number of German soldiers. Unfortunately, this includes destroying a whole town and thousands of innocent citizens.
Murphy and Dornan have star wattage, but keep their characters as normal as possible considering the life and circumstances of the period. It is a good piece of story – telling about these real soldiers and citizen’s history that I was not aware of despite the varied books and films previously released.
The English and German dialogue film had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary film fest, and will now open in Austin theaters August 12th. It has an MPAA rating of R and running time is 120 minutes.
Source: Bleecker Street Media