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ANTHROPOID(director/writer: Sean Ellis; screenwriter: Anthony Frewin; cinematographer: Sean Ellis; editor: Richard Mettler; music: Robin Foster; cast: Cillian Murphy (Jozef Gabčík), Jamie Dornan (Jan Kubiš), Charlotte Le Bon (Marie Kovárníková), Harry Lloyd (Adolf Opálka), Toby Jones (Uncle Hajský), Anna Geislerova (Lenka Fafková), Sam Keeley (Josef Bublík), Bill Milner (At’a), Detlef Bothe (Heydrich), Jiri Simek (Karel Curda), Alena Mihulova (Mrs. Moravec); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mickey Liddell/Pete Shilaimon/Sean Ellis; Bleeker Street; 2016)
“Boring thriller based on actual events.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

British filmmaker Sean Ellis (“Metro Manila”/”The Broken”) directs and co-writes with Anthony Frewin (Kubrick’s assistant) this old-fashioned, boring thriller based on actual events. It tells of the 1942 mission of Czech operatives, organized by the Czech government in exile in London, to carry out the mission of “Operation Anthropoid” to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich (Detlef Bothe) in Prague. The overseer of occupied Czechoslovakia was the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Himmler, and was the architect behind the Final Solution.The two paratroopers picked for the mission are the bland Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan and the gung-ho Jozef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy). Neither actor sports a proper Czech accent, or seem right for the part. After a double-cross incident in their forest parachute landing, the boys survive and soon meet in Prague with Jan Zelenka (Toby Jones), the head of the local resistance, who is not thrilled with their mission but still helps. There are interminable planning sessions and no action until an hour into this poorly paced film, when at last the assassination is accomplished. The best scene is saved for last. It’s the shootout at Karel Boromjeksky Church, where seven Resistance fighters face off against massive Nazis soldiers, and they get a chance for us to see their bravery. In the aftermath, the Germans executed over five thousand innocent Czechs in retaliation (which takes place offscreen and is only noted in the end credits). The filmmaker leaves us to ponder whether ridding the world of one powerful Nazi was worth such a price. The leaden execution does little justice to the heroic Resistance members, as the film takes too long to build-up steam.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”