Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich's third in command after Hitler and Himmler.This was not a story from WWII that I was familiar with at all before seeing this film.
Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) are agents tasked with this assanination and after a short title card history lesson, we meet the pair moments after they touch down in Prague having been parachuted in.
The pair, after several meetings with the Czech resistance, make their plans to assassinate Heydrich but after a failed attempt things spiral out of control.
To be honest I didn't know this story at all and given its significance I did feel a certain amount of embarrassment at that on leaving the screening. This is a tale of war where there are no real heroes but simply soldiers living with the consequences of their orders.
Both Murphy and Dornan play their parts well and are a decent on screen pairing. As Gabcik Cillian Murphy excels in acting with little emotion highlighting his characters ability to remain detached from events. Kubis however is played with much more emotion by Dornan hands shaking with fear with fear when under pressure and near panic attacks are fought back when he is asked to fulfil his orders.
On the negative side I did feel that Anthropoid took a little while to get going and the pairs relationships with their respective love interests were a little tedious at times. However the final act of the film is where the action really takes off.
he films final movement (A shoot out/stand off taking place in a church) is an incredibly tense affair and one of the best sequences of this type in recent memory. For those familiar with the story the ending will of course already be known, but it is a credit to all involved that the tension is still palpable and well executed.
Anthropoid is a films that takes true events and tells a story that more need to be more widely known. The story is still part of Czech folklore and these men are viewed as heroes for their efforts. Plaques remain to mark their bravery and it is great to see this story told with great heart cinematically.