Bonfire Rating: 5/5
It seems exceedingly rare nowadays when a movie can impress and entertain to the point of excellence. Anthropoid certainly fits that bill.
A relatively unknown release, Anthropoid delivers on the excitement and emotion any self-respecting movie aspires to.
Nearly anything WWII is sure to be tackled with care and consideration, but Anthropoid went above and beyond.
Some key takeaways from the movie:
1. Great story arc
2. Unique plot
3. Solid balance between thought-provoking emotion and action/adventure
4. The representation of war
5. The accents
I’ve often complained when a movie takes too long to grab my attention, or rushes through the setups and resolutions, leaving me confused and feeling gypped out of a cinematic experience. Anthropoid managed to avoid this however. The movie jumps right into the story with no delay, follows the two main characters, Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, along the assassination preparation, showcases the attack itself, and concludes with the following repercussions. At about two hours in length, it keeps pace pretty well.
To me, this was a unique story. I never learned in history class of the assassination attempt of SS officer Reinhard Heydrich, and that’s a shame. Most of us have heard of the multitude of attempts made against Hitler’s life, but never any of his highest-ranking officers. Most WWII movies have taken place on the frontlines or in major countries like France, Germany, and Russia. Here finally, we have the wonderful addition of the Czech’s perspective.
Saving Private Ryan and even Monuments Men had a good balance between adventure and emotion. Downfall, a tremendous movie about Hitler’s final days in his bunker, was full of emotion and gut-wrenching scenes. Inglorious Bastards was all bark and no bite. Anthropoid succeeded in lacing emotional scenes and philosophical arguments throughout the explosive action. You find yourself identifying with one of the four main characters and taking his position with regards to the mission. The back-and-forth scenes with emotional dialogue, battles, and heated arguments keep you on your toes.
One thing in particular the movie chose to highlight was that “war is not romantic”. Practically every character expressed his fear of death; no one wanted to die in blaze of glory. The screenwriters emphasized that war is difficult, brutish, and wholly destructive to everyone involved. Attempting to assassinate a high-ranking Nazi leader wasn’t so simple; what are the repercussions for doing so? Who will suffer and die if we succeed? “Is [Czechoslovakia] ready and willing to resist Nazi Germany?” If I remember correctly, the movie Valkyrie, which told the story of one attempted assassination against Hitler, portrayed a successful assassination as the end of the war. However, who’s to say Heinrich Himmler wouldn’t have stepped in and continued the war? Rarely do things go exactly according to plan, and rarely do they have such predictable repercussions. I appreciated the movie questioning the wisest course of action.
Finally, the only negative aspect of the movie was the language, in particular the accents. Sometimes I found it difficult to understand what the characters were saying, but overall I got the gist of everything.
Bonfire cannot recommend this movie highly enough. A relatively small production, Anthropoid relates an interesting story in a captivating way.
I’ve always found the WWII era fascinating, inspiring, and depressing at the same time. The world saw some of the greatest evil ever perpetrated on humanity. But we also found that the good will shine through and ultimately prove victorious. Good versus evil. Freedom versus tyranny. Hope versus despair. Those are real-world issues that humanity has faced its entire existence and Anthropoid reminds us that ‘the greatest generation’ was very deserving of that title.
Anthropoid out in theaters now!
Andrew Herzog is a producer at TheBlaze and Editor-in-chief for Bonfire Thoughts