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Anthropoid (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 120 minutes.

Not for children.

World War I was a disaster run by arrogant imbeciles in London, Berlin, and Paris, resulting in millions of deaths in places like the Battle of the Somme. But there are decisions that were made in World War II there were just as idiotic, and this is a film about one of them, the assassination of Nazi monster SS officer Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1942.

Heydrich was one of the masterminds behind the “final solution” to kill all the Jews in Europe. While his death might have been desirable, the revenge of the Nazis made it not worthwhile, and the Nazis actions were not only predictable, according to this movie, they were foreseen.

Apparently the Czechoslovakian government in exile in London ordered the assassination of Heydrich and sent in seven parachutists to do the job. This shows Joseph Gabčík (Cilian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan) as two of the parachuters sent to do a job that would have enormous negative consequences for the poor Czechs.

If you know anything about this ill-advised plan, then this is a devastatingly long and depressing film to sit through. Unfortunately, I do know about the assassination and, as a result, I was looking at my watch constantly.

However, if you don’t know anything about it, it is an interesting and relatively well done film that can educate you on the horrors of the Nazi regime, and what conquered countries had to go through. It is even more depressing when you realize that poor Czechoslovakia was bargained away by naïve British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938 so that he could achieve “peace in our time,” but peace for whom? Certainly not the Czechs. And, as it turned out, not for anyone else, either.

The color of the film is washed out. I don’t know if there was a reason for this, but they wasted their money in making this film in color because it is of such low-quality that it would’ve been better off in black and white. Like most films today, it is at least 30 minutes too long. And the filmmakers throw in a Hollywood love affair that probably has no basis in fact and no raison d’être. It is, in fact, cringeworthy. They also picture one of the parachutists as too fearful to pull the trigger on a traitor at the beginning, threatening the entire mission, which seemed to me to be without any basis in fact and, therefore, unnecessary and defamatory to a very brave man.

But the rest of the film seems to be factual, especially the recreation of the assassination attempt and the final denouement, both of which are extremely well done.