Anthropoid (2016) Movie Review

By: Oberst Von Berauscht –

In the winter of 1941 a pair of soldiers of the Czech government in exile parachute into their home country, and find it a changed place.  Intelligence reports turn out to be hopelessly out of date, as the NAZIs have already infiltrated or rooted out most of the resistance in the country. Miraculously, the soldiers avoid capture long enough to find a remaining pocket of the Prague resistance.  Here they announce their mission; to kill Reinhard Heydrich, leader of NAZI forces in Czechoslovakia. The plan is a dangerous one, but the resistance members are all more than willing to die for the cause they deem just.

A Toast

Director Sean Ellis keeps the movie running at a brisk pace despite the exposition-heavy script. The film quite admirably creates a claustrophobic feeling throughout, which makes sense for a story about the resistance in an area of Europe dominated by NAZI forces. The Czech resistance movement was particularly beset with troubles under the thumb of some of the NAZI leadership’s most infamous criminals.  Besides his reputation as a commander and as the architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich was a master of destroying opposition. It is fascinating to see the story played out of how a small group of determined fighters nevertheless managed to get at him, in spite of all his careful planning.

the untouchables feature
No one is Untouchable…

Beer Two

Like so many other WWII-era films, the color scheme of Anthropoid is grey and washed-out. The dark and depressing mood of the film fits with that look to an extent, but it is also never varies and makes the film grim and dull to look at. The film’s mood never lets up either; this is a film with only two moods, sullen and morose.

anthropoid
Pictured above: a moment of levity

Beer Three

The film’s biggest flaw is in the way it treats its characters. We never learn much about any of the principal players in Operation Anthropoid, other than about their experiences during the war. The film takes its time building up to the assassination and then dealing with the aftermath, and almost none of it is spent understanding the motives of the characters. Leads Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan make a compelling pair of actors, and they delve into all of their emotional strengths here in spite of this lack of development. The result is that it is often difficult to tell what motivates them in their decision making. Sometimes the characters feel so cut and paste that you’ll find yourself hearing a conversation and not knowing which names go with what face.

Except for Cillian Murphy... that face just cannot be ignored
Except for Cillian Murphy… that face just cannot be ignored

Verdict

Anthropoid is an unrelentingly dour look at WWII espionage, which considering the short lifespans of many of them, is likely quite accurate. Absent any levity, the film then relies on story and character development, which is ultimately lacking.

3beers

Anthropoid (2016) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for double-cross

Take a Drink: for the body-count

Do a Shot: for explosions

Take a Drink: any time someone mentions Reinhard Heydrich

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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