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Released 9 September 2016
Director Seán Ellis

Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Anna Geislerová, Charlotte Le Bon, Marcin Dorocinski, Toby Jones, Seán Mahon, Sam Keeley, Brian Caspe, Karel Hermanek Jr., Sara Arsteinova
Writer(s) Seán Ellis, Anthony Frewin

Seán Ellis, Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon

Czech Republic, United Kingdom, France
Running Time 120 minutes
Genre Biography, history, thriller, war
Rating 15A

Piece de resistance.

Real life stories of heroism are rarely clear cut. In war especially, there are consequences to every action and acts of bravery can turn to catastrophe in the blink of an eye. Operation Anthropoid was one such occasion. In 1941, two Czech soldiers parachuted into Nazi-occupied Prague charged with an almost impossible mission by the exiled Czech government. Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) must attempt to assassinate SS Officer Reinhard Heydrich, third in command within Hitler's Reich and architect of the Final Solution. Along with a small band of Resistance fighters and some sympathetic locals, they attempted to take on the might of the occupying German forces.

Coincidentally, there is a second film in production about these events based on international bestseller HHhH. If that film stays true to the book it will surely be a non-linear take on the operation, whereas Anthropoid, directed by Sean Ellis, is quite a straightforward historical film. This is not to damn Anthropoid with faint praise; it is an involving, well-made film that really delivers in terms of bringing chaos and terror to the screen. Even though parts of the story have had to be condensed to fit the format, Ellis has pulled together the crucial events of Anthropoid and has produced an operatic tour de force in the final Church siege. The violence and brutality shown towards the Czech people is truly distressing; as it should be.

Murphy and Dornan, despite their occasionally faltering Czech accents, put in excellent performances and have good chemistry together. While the film is clearly on the side of the resistance fighters, it also raises some interesting questions on whether or not their mission is beneficial to the Czech people – nobody could be sorry to see the back of Heydrich but given the punishment meted out in the aftermath of Anthropoid, was it really worth it? These grey areas make the film a thought-provoking depiction of a side of the war not usually seen on screen.

- Linda O'Brien