In December 1941, Czech soldiers Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš parachute into their occupied homeland to assassinate Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich.
ActorsStarring: Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Charlotte Le Bon, Harry Lloyd, Detlef Bothe, Brian Caspe, Karel Heřmánek ml., Pavel Řezníček, Sean Mahon, Bill Milner, Jan Hájek
Reinhard Heydrich was Hitler’s third highest ranking officer, in 1941 put in charge of Bohemia and Moravia. He was based in Prague to ensure that Czech weapons production remained operational to support the Nazi war machine, and in particular to squash the Czech resistance. He did so ruthlessly, earning himself nicknames such as the Butcher of Prague and the Blond Beast. The Czech government was in exile in London at the time, and they sanctioned Operation Anthropoid: to assassinate this animal in Human Form.
Cinematically the movie is pretty enjoyable. There are beautiful scenes of a historic and oft misty Prague, secretive meetings in moody atmospheres, and a barely there score. The shaky cam action scenes earlier on in the movie scenes are a shame – you would have thought all directors by now would have learned that the shaky-cam is also called queasy-cam for a reason: it is annoying to watch for more than a few seconds. Luckily, the action scenes in Anthropoid become less shaky as the movie progresses.
Anthropoid is not your typical fast-paced, action-packed WWII heroes film though. It is slow-building and full of people who are scared about what they are about to do. Some are braver, some more nervous, some more naive, and not all even agree on even the mission’s objective. As the resistance prepares for the operation, there are a few close calls, and the two main protagonists find themselves in romantic subplots, to help further build the human side of the story.
At the same time this is the film’s weaker side: it doesn’t really draw you in emotionally. Not for lack of trying – but the point is that those plot points aren’t terribly subtle. Theoretically there should be and there is more than plenty to work with in terms of cause, fear, thrills, love, revenge, and more to get the viewer emotionally vested, yet you remain an observer.
However, the story itself though is still more than interesting enough to keep you an engaged observer throughout, all the way to its violent finale.