Anthropoid, recently released in US and UK cinemas, is a World War II drama surrounding Operation Anthropoid – a British led mission approved by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, head of the combined security services of Nazi Germany, and the man put in charge of the “Final Solution”. Co-written and directed by Sean Ellis (Cashback, Metro Manila), the film stars Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan as two Czech nationals parachuted into their occupied homeland to attempt this assignment.
The plot synopsis alone should be enough to peak an audience’s interest, and it’s not only an interesting and exciting story, it’s also an important one – the film should hopefully address the full story, including its horrific aftermath, amongst other tragedies in the narrative. From the trailers and promotional interviews released already this seems to be the case, and for the film to really succeed in being an effective thriller it should never forget the humanity of its characters – believing in their vulnerability is what will sell the tension and importance of their actions. Likewise, it should be made clear, and it looks as though it will be in the film, that their actions are about far more than just their survival and the stability of the region and of Nazi Germany as a whole; (spoiler alert – of history) in being successful in their mission, they were in the short term damaging a lot of ordinary people’s lives in the process, and this should in no way be sidelined for the sake of some big explosions or something. Though, thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be where the film is heading.
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No one needs to sell the talents of Cillian Murphy at this point, and whilst Jamie Dornan has certainly appeared in some dreadful films, including the obvious titan of these, Fifty Shades of Grey, he has shown his talents in some of his other works, and early reviews have raved about their chemistry, which is obviously good news. Backing up this good news is even more good news – the wider cast features Toby Jones, Harry Lloyd and Bill Milner. Add to this Sean Ellis’ scarce but proven directorial record and Anthropoid certainly seems to be one worth seeing in cinemas.
By Oliver Rowe