I think we can all agree that war is a terrible thing but within this human atrocity arises many stories of heroism, courage and defiance. Already this year we’ve seen many different films surrounding this topic. The war on terror took centre stage in the ethically charged ‘Eye in the Sky’. Whilst comedies ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘War Dogs’ took advantage of different eras of war for the purpose of laughter and drama. ‘Anthropoid’ takes us back to World War II once more, however with a much more serious tone in order to inform and entertain.
The film focuses on the assassination attempt of Reinhard Heydrich who was third in command of the Nazi regime. Think Tom Cruise’s ‘Valkyrie’ but more authentic, however also potentially less entertaining. The film cuts a lot of corners narratively but still manages to feel long. The main characters who are played well by Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy never get much introduction and the audience is left in the dark about their backgrounds for the whole film. As well as this some of the development of these characters is skimmed over a little too quickly in place of narrative which is too concentrated on informing the viewers about the plans for the assassination. In and around this main plot point there is a lot of drama present, as would be expected. However, there is more attention given to some aspects rather than others and I’m afraid some crucial moments aren’t allowed to play out in the ways that would have made them most effective. This would have been useful for combating the sometimes quite dull nature of the film. Alongside the two leading men come a number of supporting cast members including Charlotte Le Bon and Toby Jones. The cast are all good and portray their characters well creating a convincing atmosphere for the telling of Operation Anthropoid.
Although the film has its problems there is still plenty to be praised. Throughout the movie there are some great moments that are able to draw you right back into the drama which is unfolding and special recognition should be given to the action packed finale. This was easily the highlight of the film for me and I really thought that ‘Anthropoid’ redeemed itself after its average first half. After a little research into the real life events as well it would seem that this film is very historically accurate which makes for a refreshing change from many films which simply take inspiration from one element of a real event and create a fictitious narrative around it. What more is that this is a story that deserved to be told. As I mentioned earlier out of war comes some of the best the human spirit can muster and this true story is a fantastic example of this. Why I was not familiar with this story beforehand almost dumbfounds me and I’m so pleased that the story of these men’s bravery is being told.
‘Anthropoid’ is a flawed but fine war drama. It has trouble knowing what parts of its narrative to expand on and which to leave for the viewers to fill in the gaps. Nonetheless by the end of the film this doesn’t matter so much. The intense and brutal finale is where the strength of the film lies and should once more enthrall any viewers whose attention was wavering. Above everything else this is a very small part of one of the biggest stories in our recent history and the film does well to showcase the individuals who chose to stand up to evil rather than let it defeat them.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What is your favourite war drama?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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