Thursday, 15 September 2016

'Anthropoid' Review

The story behind the assassination of Nazi Officer Reynhard Heydrich is yet again getting the big screen attention. An event that is vital to the war that doesn't get as much attention makes for an interesting premise for a movie. Unfortunately, despite glimpses of greatness, they execution wasn't there in 'Anthropoid'.

In December 1941, two Czech soldiers (Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy) parachute into their Nazi occupied homeland. They have a mission to assassinate one of the highest ranking Nazi officers Reynhard Heydrich. With help from other members of the Czech resistance, they will attempt this attack to aid their country against Nazi oppression.

The biggest problem with 'Anthropoid' is with its drama or lack therof. There isn't anything that is emotional, that is gripping and unfortunately, nothing that interesting in the dramatic parts of the film. It falls completely short with the drama as the film doesn't really do anything in the first hour to get you really invested in the story and the characters. In fact the film starts off very brightly with the parachutists arriving into the country and almost immediately are tattled on to the Nazi's. It starts off bright and you hope that the film continues this but it fails to do anything afterwards to carry on this good start.

Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan lead a cast of dull, expressionless characters who spend most of their time sitting around speaking quietly. The characters don't get much to show off their talents as everything is so boring to the extent where it seems like the actors themselves are bored. And that reflects on the audience as well as it is hard to remain interested in this movie when very little happens leading to not a very entertaining build up. It's a shame to see talented actors being stuck with uninteresting characters who haven't really been built up which doesn't allow them to do much in their roles. 

Often with true stories like these, they have to add more plot lines into it to make it more theatrical. For 'Anthropoid', they add in a couple of love interests for Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and it really doesn't add anything that interesting to the film. The problem with this is that it is a lazy attempt at creating a level of romance as it never really dives into the relationships that much. It all seems to move very quickly as well without showing any time passing which makes it seem very rushed. They didn't take the time to make them feel like genuine couples and it was probably something that the film could have done without. If they weren't going to put the effort into the characters, then they simply should not have included them.

The bizarre thing with this film is that it gets a whole lot better after the events of the attempted assassination. After that, the film springs into life as the Nazi's look for those involved and it holds some impactful scenes such as interrogation scenes. Two in particular are really brutal and show the ruthless nature of the Nazi's with some moments that are genuinely hard to watch. Then there is the magnificent scene within the church where if you know your history, the Czech resistance try to hold as the Nazi's try to capture them. This action scene is phenomenal and is so far away from the start of the film in terms of quality. The last act of this film is everything the drama should have been: gripping and tense. There is so much excitement in this finale and it will most definitely have you on the edge of your seat. It's a shame the rest of the film could not support it.

Overall, 'Anthropoid' is mostly a very forgettable movie. If you wanted to learn about this event, you'd be much better watching a documentary, it would be much more entertaining. However you should check out the last half n hour or so of this movie as it does pick up. Unfortunately this is the only worthwhile part of the film in what is a dull disappointment. 

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Anthropoid'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor