Cast includes: Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Gray), Cillian Murphy (Inception), Brian Caspe (The Martian), Toby Jones (The Hunger Games), Charlotte Le Bon (The Hundred-Foot Journey), Anna Geislerová (Something Like Happiness)
Writer/Director: Sean Ellis (Cashback)
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller (120 minutes)
In 1938, Nazi Germany annexed Czechoslovakia… a year later, Poland. In order to crush resistance, General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich has annihilated all suspected Resistance fighters, collaborators and even family members. This film is based on actual events about the plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich. Operation Anthropoid starts badly with one of the three parachutists geting killed on the jump. Josef is injured, and the trail of blood from his injury leads a local farmer right to Josef and Jan’s hiding place. Fortunately, the farmer agrees to help them get to Prague. But Jan knows you can’t trust anyone, and his quick thinking pays off. The two have been in London for a while, and their information is a bit out of date. At #44, the current resident knows nothing about the person they’re looking for. However, she sees that Josef needs a doctor and recommends a veterinarian to stich up that foot. The vet then gives them the next link in the chain leading to what’s left of the Resistance. It’s touch and go because nobody trusts anyone.
Uncle Hajsky was supposed to have been expecting Jan and Josef, but contact with London was lost months ago. So when Jan explain about Operation Anthropoid, all Hajsky can say is, “Are you nuts? Kill Heydrich, and Hitler will come down on all of Prague.” The line of command is Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich… the Nazis will exact brutal revenge for an assault on their #3 leader. But for now, the two need a room and a cover story… Mrs. Moravec provides an attic room. Marie and Lenka agree to play the girlfriend roles. Even in occupied Prague, the Nazis can relate to young love. But when the girls meet them at a dance, dressed in their nicest clothes and wearing lipstick, there are cat calls from Nazis and a rebuke from Jan. “We need for you to be as plain as possible. Lipstick gets you noticed. You get us noticed. Getting noticed gets us shot.” The mission is all that matters, and the Resistance finally reestablishes contact with London. Operation Anthropoid is coming together… watching Heydrich’s every move… building a picture of his routine… planning the attack, which Jan and Josef will handle. Josef is concerned about what happens afterward… he and Marie have fallen in love, and he’d rather not die for this mission. “Our mission is to kill Heydrich. What happens afterward is not important,” says Jan coldly. Words to live or die by, as the Nazis are going to do exactly what Uncle Hajsky said they will.
All I can say is, Wow… what a missed opportunity! This was such an interesting and important chapter in WWII history. It’s hard to believe this movie hasn’t already been made. In making Anthropoid, it’s hard to believe they made such a flat, minimally engaging film. There’s plenty of violence to be sure, but the plot development is rudimentary and there is absolutely no character development beyond Jamie Dornan’s yummy Christian Gray eyes. The Wikipedia page is far more interesting than this movie! But that said, if you’re addicted to slickly produced WWII movies, Anthropoid might give you your fix… lots of violence with a touch of love interest. “I have to believe there is a normal life waiting for us,” says Josef, defending his love for Marie. You don’t have to see the film to know how that ends.
1 popped kernel
The WWII operation that killed the third highest-ranking Nazi commander
Rated: R (Violence)
Audience: Young Adults
Gender Style: Bold
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: High-End Production
Nutshell: WWII assassination plot
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative