Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
As the credits rolled on Anthropoid I was left shook, thinking back upon a journey that had ramped up into an emotional final act of mayhem, wholly succeeding in its mission of showcasing our own history; a far cry from the Sean Ellis - who also co-wrote Anthropoid - with his time-stopping yet equally splendid quasi sci-fi drama Cashback.
Itís really is quite amazing how with just a small budget of around 9 million dollars, the filmmakers have managed to create such an authentic feeling depiction in Anthropoid, even meticulously replicating entire to scale sets and shooting at the actual locations where the now historical events took place - not to mention attracting some notable names. This combines with the scripts overt perception deprivation of our characters, who like the audience are left completely in the dark about the larger picture afoot beyond their own orders, and rightly feeling their plight is a mere one way suicide mission that will surely bring about disastrous consequences for their people. Itís such smart decision making by Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin, creating a sense of claustrophobia as the two try and establish a foothold in Prague with their head on a constant swivel and any strange noise the possible burgeoning of an untimely death.
The two lead performances exemplify this situation with Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan each bringing differing perspectives and shortcomings to the situation they find themselves in - one a seemingly hardened soldier and the other dreading his reality and what it entails. This is made all the worse when given a glimmer of hope by faux relationships turned reality, in the romantic entanglements the pair establish with Marie (Charlotte Le Bon) and Lenka (Anna GeislerovŠ) who also shine in their performances.
Likewise the amount of tension built up as the team begin their day of preparing to assassinate Heydrich (Detlef Bothe) is pure edge of your seat stuff, and will have you gripped throughout, only to then make one final push in its conclusion that was reminiscent of the final scene in Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds - except this time historically accurate. Itís undoubted that Anthropoid will eventually be followed up by a far more Hollywood-ised adaption of its material - and will no doubt shed its realism and accuracy in that endeavour - itís just a shame then that Anthropoid, a much deserved and fantastic depiction, received such a small theatrical release - but thankfully the home release means we can now partake in this gem.
If youíre a fan of gripping and intense films then Anthropoid is a must watch, even if you arenít a history buff. With excellent filmmaking and a sense of realism that easily dwarfs the measly budget Anthropoid successfully hides behind, creating one of the best spy thrillers to grace our screens in quite a while.
- 4 Out of 5 Stars
Lack of commentary
Gripping & intense
Sean Ellis on form
- Operation Daybreak
No, contains scenes of death, torture and violence.
In the opening parachute scene, the team blanketed an entire woodland with fake paper snow in order to create an effect of winter.
Petschek Palace was a bank that was converted to Gestapo headquarters during the war. Many people of the Czech resistance were tortured there and today the basement remains a museum to their memory. The torture scene of Ata Moravec was filmed in the same basement room where it actually took place.
Anthropoid means "resembling a human being in form".
None of the German dialog was intentionally subtitled, to give the viewer the effect of a foreign power.
In real life. one of the men responsible for training the Anthropoid assassins was the late Christopher Lee, who worked for British intelligence during World War II.