Tuesday, August 23
Directed by Sean Ellis
2016 War Drama
2 hours 29 minutes
From Bleeker Street Media
Charlotte Le Bon
I am never particularly in the mood for another movie about the Third Reich. I certainly have seen a lot of them for someone whose interest is clearly not there. But I make exceptions to lots of policies when I like the cast or just a lead actor. It is with this in mind that I saw Anthropoid.
It seems as if I've seen Irish actor Cillian Murphy in many things. I've probably enjoyed him most as a villain but he completely fascinates me no matter what he does and I think he has a most interesting face. Jamie Dornan's assets I first enjoyed in Fifty Shades of Grey. I wasn't sure what I thought of his acting abilities although I thought he was right for that role. It's those assets, I suppose. I've been checking out what new I could see him in and when I saw he would be costarring alongside Murphy in this one, I knew I was in.
If there's something new about this one, it would be that it concerns a planned assassination of the third highest-ranking officer in the Third Reich, Reinhard Heydrich. He was known as the principal architect of The Final Solution and also called The Butcher of Prague. Dornan and Murphy portray freedom fighters on a Czech-British mission to take out Heydrich.
The first part of the film, based on a true story, dealing with the planning of the assassination goes on and on and on. To say it slowed down the pace is an understatement. The overall length of this film is due to its long and dull beginning. The plans get changed over and over and it might have helped some to have jumped to their final plan. We meet a family they stay with, there's a bit of romance and we meet others who help them, both willing and begrudging participants.
We pick up some steam, of course, when we finally get to the assassination scenes which are more compelling than the planning, of course, but not what they could have been. What is not new here is the aftermath of the event, the manhunt. It commences with hordes of German soldiers breaking into homes and machine-gunning entire families and/or torturing them and ends at a church shootout where the fighters are hiding. It takes two hours to get to this point and while it is certainly the most exciting section of the film, it is so patently cliche.
It seemed odd that no one much considered the impact such an assassination would have on the people of Czechoslovakia, who would be slaughtered by the thousands in retaliation. The writing about this seemed awkward, almost as if they were missing the point.
And those two boys I went to see? They bored me too. Neither had the right accent and I found them overly dispassionate. They couldn't work up a little more energy considering their mission? Dornan had more get up and go working over Dakota Johnson in 50 Shades than he did in this one.
Filmed almost entirely in Prague, there is certainly an authentic look and feel to the proceedings.
When I first heard this title, I thought it might be a bug movie... certainly something in the sci-fi arena. And while it pays homage to the actual series of events, called Operation Anthropoid, this is a terrible title with no box office appeal. I don't see very bright prospects for this one.
Isn't there a second film coming out still this year on the same subject?