Anthropoid

Before and during World War II, Nazi SS General Reinhard Heydrich was one of the darkest, worst individuals of a evil batch.  He was credited with being one of the main architects behind the concept of “The Final Solution,” became known as “The Butcher of Prague” and was the third highest ranking Nazi officer behind Hitler and Himmler.

In 1942, there was a mission inside occupied Czechoslovakia to assassinate Heydrich that was called Anthropoid.  This is the story of that mission.

Now, since I was unaware of this event, I will not spoil what happens, although you could ask a history buff or hit Wikipedia if you cannot wait to discover whether or not the assassination attempt was successful.

A group of parachutists dropped into Czechoslovakia to undertake the mission.  The story focuses on two of them- Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubi (Jamie Dornan)- and their efforts to find a way to attempt such a difficult, if not impossible, job.

Along the way, the Josef and Jan find their way to the Kovárníková family, who were willing to put them up and support their mission. They also had several resistance fighters from the town itself including Ladislav (Marcin Dorocinski) and Uncle Hajský  (Toby Jones).  Facing some opposition to the mission, Josef and Jan had to do what they could to keep it on track.

While they were establishing themselves, Josef and Jan meet Maria (Charlotte Le Bon) and Lenka (Anna Geislerová) who agreed to help them.  Of course, the men fell for these women, making their mission even more taxing.

Now, there was some issues with the movie.  It does take some time to get going, and we do not get a proper introduction to several of these characters.  That made it challenging, at times, to follow.  We really do not know much about these people, making it tough to relate to their struggles.

However, once the mission starts, the remainder of the film is very exciting and compelling.  It is difficult to write anything about this next section without spoiling, so I will say that the final 30-45 minutes of the film really pulled off some intense scenes with some remarkable battles.

The film does a great job of showing how the little person tried to stand up and battle against the juggernaut that was Nazi Germany and hteir invading forces.  One of the concerns of the mission was that an assassination attempt on a figure as high ranking as Heydrich would lead to a drastic retaliation by the Nazis, and that is exactly what happened.  The film does an amazing job of showing how little human life meant to the Nazis and it is always a shocking example of one of the most horrific time in the history of the planet earth.

This does feel like a tale of two films.  The first half was slow and plodding while the second half becomes tense and violent.  This film served as a history lesson to one of the worst real-life villains we have seen ever.

3 stars

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