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Review: Anthropoid

Anthropoid
08.08.2016
8 10

PLOT: ANTHROPOID presents the true story of two Czechoslovakian operatives on a mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich, a leading member of the Nazi forces during WWII.

REVIEW: After Jamie Dornan’s performance in 50 SHADES OF GREY, it’s nice to see the actor do something a little more challenging. As a soldier sent to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich, the actor proves to be an impressive leading man - you can also check him out in the series The Fall just to prove the guy is far better than the material he was given in the S & M drama. Alongside Cillian Murphy, the two actors bring a humanity to this very dark tale. It’s a terrifying world that is at times uncomfortable to watch, yet still quite compelling. The film quickly delves into a very dangerous time, with the two men risking not only their own lives, but anybody they come in contact with. And while this is a powerful film, it tends to fall a tad short as the story unfolds. Once that final act kicks in however, it is easy to forgive any issues early on.

ANTHROPOID begins with Josef Gabcík (Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Dornan), two soldiers parachuting into their occupied homeland. Once they land, the pair quickly hide anything that would give them away deep in the snow.  After a near fatal close call, they make their way to rendezvous with others involved in the plan. The Czechoslovakian operatives’ mission is simple, they must assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. A near impossible task, the two are consistantly in danger of being caught with every choice they make. With the help of their allies, including Hajský (Toby Jones) and Ladislav (Marcin Dorocinski), they stay with a sympathetic family. There, they share a relationship with the beautiful Marie (Charlotte Le Bon) and her friend Lenka Fafková (Anna Geislerová). However, the closer they get to Heydrich, they come to the realization that they may not walk away from the secret operation code-named “Anthropoid.”

Written and directed by Sean Ellis, the moving drama is at times a near miserable experience. This is not meant to be an insult, but much of the drama on-screen feels terrifyingly real. As Josef and Jan get closer to accomplishing their mission, the stakes are absolutely deadly and horrendous for some. When one young man is taken custody by the Nazi forces, it’s more than difficult to watch. Ellis doesn’t shy away from the nightmarish situation our heroes are facing. And while the first hour sometimes drags a bit, there are two sequences that make up for that. One involving the assassination attempt, and the other comes crashing down on the viewer near the end. If you are looking for a feel good flick, this one isn’t even close to being what you are looking for.

One of the key factors that makes this work is the on-screen talent involved. Most of the supporting characters are played by actors that may be unfamiliar to American audiences and they are quite believable.  And then there is Dornan and Murphy. The two do a fine job with the accent and they also lend credibility to the soldiers. Murphy is especially solid as a man very aware of the dangers they are facing. Aside from the two leads, the stand out here is the stunning Anna Geislerová who proves to be a pivotal pawn for their desperate mission. The actress brings a touch of pain and passion with incredible charisma and strength. She and Murphy are simply fantastic together.

The sense of dread is powerful from the very beginning. Sometimes it gets to be a little too much. Of course this is a story about a horrendous time in history, but it feels like something that we should be aware of whether we want to or not. There are moments where the tension is lessoned by a little too much explanation and planning, yet the characters keep you involved. And frankly, once you walk out of the theatre, you may feel especially disturbed and saddened by what took place before. This is heavy stuff that lingers, but not in a very pleasant way.

While it may not be the type of flick you’d catch on a hot summers day, ANTHROPOID is a well made feature film about a shocking period in history. The cast is especially impressive, and if you had any doubts about Mr. Dornan from 50 SHADES OF GREY, he proves what an impressive talent he is. Sean Ellis isn’t looking to make a watered down version of history. This is a harrowing journey to take, and one that will leave you shaken after the credits role.

Source: JoBlo.com

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