August 12, 2016

in Movies, Uncategorized

Film (2016)

Directed by Sean Ellis
Screenplay by Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin

With Jamie Dornan (Jan Kubis), Cillian Murphy (Josef Gabcík), Brian Caspe (Antonín), Karel Hermánek Jr. (Ignác), Sean Mahon (Dr. Eduard), Jan Hájek (Bretislav Bauman), Marcin Dorocinski (Ladislav Vanek), Toby Jones (Uncle Hajský), Charlotte Le Bon (Marie Kovárníková), Alena Mihulová (Mrs. Moravec), Bill Milner (At’a), Anna Geislerová (Lenka Fafková), Jirí Simek (Karel Curda)

Jamie Dornan as Jan Kubiš, Cillian Murphy as Josef Gabčík in 'Anthropoid',A Bleecker Street release

Jamie Dornan as Jan Kubiš
Cillian Murphy as Josef Gabčík
in “Anthropoid”
A Bleecker Street release

Based in fact, a dramatization of the plan, in the early 1940s, by Czech freedom fighters to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, a high ranking Nazi dubbed The Butcher of Prague.

Nine men parachuted in from abroad as part of a home-brewed commando team with the mission to assassinate the hated Reinhard Heydrich, called Butcher of Prague for his brutal devastation of the Czech population. Early on in the career of the Nazi surge towards power, before the actual declaration of war with Britain and France, the Nazis devastated the lands near them, including Czechoslovakia. The attempt to resist was met with overpowering annihilation by the Nazis, and this example of an attempt by Czech rebels to assassinate Heydrich later on remains a significant emblem of heroic resistance in the midst of that tyranny.

That plot to assassinate Heydrich was actually, historically, given the name Operation Anthropoid. This film about that plot and its aftermath is at once an interesting marker of a significant event in Eastern European history, a suspenseful thriller and a vivid war movie. It also incorporates a couple of love stories. It is a blend of all sorts of things, with some success in the attempt, and when not so successful, somewhat more melodramatic than it might be.

The film falls into two main sections. The first half involves the suspenseful buildup, which is largely about espionage, planning, subterfuge and coordination of the assassination plan. The second half is pure battling and it goes on for a long time. When, after the exhausting tension of the first part and one thinks the film has wound down, there is another very long episode and lots of blood and guts to get through.

Josef Gabčík

Josef Gabčík

For much of it, the performances are pretty gripping. Cillian Murphy (Josef Gabcík), as one of the two major profiled paratroopers, comes across as an appropriately sullen, moody and charismatic variant on the Benedict Cumberbatch theme. He manages, with his captivatingly dour and intense gaze, to create steam in whatever corner he lands.

Toby Jones, as the significantly bespectacled Uncle Hajský, has shown up recently in The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015), and is well-placed to corner the market in that species of myopic but authoritative characters that Donald Pleasance managed to capture so well in the wonderful can-we-ever-get-out-of-here war epic The Great Escape (1963). There are a few thematic echoes of that great film in moments of this one as well.

Charlotte LeBon (Marie Kovárníková) who did such a great job in a starring role in The Hundred Foot Journey (2014), provides here an innocent allure and sweetly honest romance to the gnarled and difficult goings-on.

As the young violin playing boy At’a, Bill Milner is poised and honorably tense.

This film is certainly suspenseful. Though many of the performances are quite good, the acting and direction are not consistently convincing . Though the fighting in the latter half is generally well choreographed, it feels like too much too late in the film. As a testament to an important chapter in European history, the film is notable.

– BADMan

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