Anthropoid is the ideal type of historical drama; a film that puts the audiences in the era and gives an accurate feel for the situations and events. It’s an interesting take on espionage, and the film is intricately planned, leading to some brilliantly suspenseful sequences of action and tension. At the heart of the brutality, Anthropoid finds the emotion within the grounded, brotherly relationship between its lead performers, both of which give some of the year’s best performances.
Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy), two Czech and Slovak agents, parachute into the heart of Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. After finding sanctuary and assimilating into the Nazi society, the two are dispatched to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the third most powerful Nazi in Hitler’s forces. But these soldiers don’t just face the threat of Heydrich’s protective forces, as they must also deal with the consequences to their friends and country should they succeed.
It’s the moral battle, and complexities of wartime ethics, that make Anthropoid so compelling, and the grainy, static cinematography only gives the film a heightened sense of urgency. The film pulls no punches with its brutality or historical fallout, but the subtle, effective work from Murphy and Dornan give the film the required adrenaline, and an emotional, heart-wrenching finale. An impactful and intelligent thriller, Anthropoid is a powerful and accurate depiction of heroism. Grade: -A
For more thoughts on Anthropoid, check out my apperance on “After Credits”: