Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich's third in command after Hitler and Himmler.
ANTHROPOID is based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich. The Reich's third in command after Hitler and Himmler, Heydrich was the main architect behind the Final Solution and the leader of occupying Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia whose reign of terror prompted self-exiled Czech and Slovak soldiers (played by Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan) to hatch a top-secret mission that would change the face of Europe forever.iWritten by
When Jan and Josef arrive in Prague for the first time and exit their car, a satellite dish can be seen in the background on one of the houses in the street. This also happens when scenes are shot in this street later in the movie. See more »
[to Lenka and Marie]
Your gonna get yourselves noticed and that gets us noticed... and if we all get noticed we all get killed
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On 27 May 1942, at a tight street corner in Prague, two resistance parachutists - the Czech Jan Kubi and the Slovak Jozef Gabčík stopped an open top car carrying the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich with the intention of carrying out the most high profile assassination of the Second World War. The consequences - both personal and political - were enormous. Kubi and Gabčík, together with five other parachutists, eventually found refuge in an orthodox church near the city centre, but they were betrayed by one of the other parachutists and all died in the shoot-out with the SS.
My strong interest in the assassination is because it took place at the height of the wartime exploits of my Czech night fighter pilot father-in-law, so that I included a couple of paragraphs about it in my biography of him, and the church in which the assassins Kubi and Gabčík died is literally at the end of the street in which my closest Czech friends live, so that I have visited it several times.
The year after the assassination which made massive world news, Hollywood rushed out two films - "Hangmen Also Die" and "Hitler's Madman" - which gave highly fictionalised accounts of the event and its aftermath. In 1964, there was a Czech film called "Atentát" (released under the English title "The Assassination"). "Operation: Daybreak" - released in 1975 - was a British portrayal of events which was shot on location (in what was then communist Czechoslovakia) and gave an essentially accurate narrative with some fictionalised embellishments.
So "Anthropoid" (2016) - the code name for the operation - is the fifth work to bring these events to the big screen and again this is a British-inspired work shot on location (in what is now the democratic Czech Republic).
Britain's Sean Ellis is director and cinematographer as well as co-writer and he has produced an accomplished work which is even more faithful to the facts and makes even more use of original locations than "Operation: Daybreak". Also dialogue and acting are both better than the previous film. Cillian Murphy is particularly good as Jozef Gabčík who is shown as the leading personality (in "Operation: Daybreak", Jan Kubi - played this time by Jamie Dorman - was represented as leading the team). Another change is that the parachutists are shown as more human, given to bouts of doubt and fear.
The 1975 and 2016 films follow a very similar narrative arc, beginning with the jump by Kubi and Gabčík and ending with their death, so that the actual assassination attempt is the hinge for the two very different segments tonally: the tense preparation and the ferocious aftermath. However, one difference is that the target of the assassination Reinhard Heydrich - who was a major character in "Operation"Daybreak" - in this latest film only appears in order to be attacked and has no dialogue at all. Also the new production opens and closes with some explanatory text that usefully underlines why this piece of history deserves to be remembered. Finally this is much more of Czech work with even greater use of Czech actors and technical talent.
Anna Geislerová - who plays Gabčík's girlfriend Lenka - is a major star in the Czech Republic. I could have done without the imaginary appearance of Lenka in the final moments but, that aside, the conclusion of "Anthropoid" packs a powerfully emotive punch. Indeed this is a film that lingers long in the memory and some of these memories are profoundly disturbing, but the viewer needs to be aware that even the torture scene of the young Ata Moravec actually happened.
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