A movie that evokes a range of emotions
There have been many movies and documentaries to tell the horrific story of Nazi invasions in Europe from varying perspectives ranging from the Jews who suffered persecution to the legal eagles who tried Nazi war criminals. “Anthropoid” is the latest film to retell true events surrounding incidents leading up to the Holocaust, and the seven heroic former Czech soldiers who managed to briefly stun the Nazi regime in what became known as ‘Operation Anthropoid.’
Plot: Seven former Czech soldiers living in exile in London return to their native country. They parachute into their invaded homeland on a mission to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich (Detlef Bothe), a high tier Nazi official and a main figure in constructing the Holocaust. With the help of British allies, the seven men plan and orchestrate the assassination of Heydrich under suspicion and threat of possible Nazi infiltration. There efforts result in an infamous 6-hour standoff at an Eastern Orthodox church in Prague with an army of Nazi soldiers.
Engagement: The film starts slowly, which is good as the viewer has an opportunity to connect, if only briefly, with each of the characters. The bond between two of the resistors Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and Josef Cabcik (Cillian Murphy), along with their relationships with two local women, is vaguely explored. But the connections they make with the women, as well as a family that aids them, is enough to set the stage for what is coming and ultimately evoke empathy for their circumstances. As Kubis and Cabcik, with other resistors, concoct their plan to assassinate Heydrich, you can’t help but route for them, regardless if you know of the real life outcome—I intentionally avoided reading any historical intel in order to appreciate the storytelling, without knowing the outcome. It’s hard not to feel a range of emotions while watching this film—dismay, frustration, disbelief, and anger. You’ll surely find yourself questioning the compassion of humanity.
Style: The look of this film is adequate to tell the story from the past and at times the manner in which the cinematography captures the setting, specifically during the assassination and during the final battle in the church, is poignant. It’s almost as if you are there with them in the heat of battle—struggling to survive and hoping to make a difference.
Release date: August 12th
Image source: Bleecker Street Media