Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Brian Caspe, Karel Hermánek Jr., Sara Arsteinova, Sean Mahon, Jan Hájek, Marcin Dorocinski, Alena Mihulová, Bill Milner, Charlotte Le Bon, Pavel Reznícek, Anna Geislerová, Justin Svoboda, Harry Lloyd, Václav Neuzil, Jiri Simek, Detlof Bothe, Jan Budar, Mish Boyko, David Bredin, Roman Zach, Sam Keeley, Alexander van der Groeben, Andrej Polak.
There are those that suggest that World War Two is now a moment in time that should at best be forgotten; left alone in its age and that any attempt to tell any part of it on the big screen should be dismissed. To some it is almost as if the lessons learned, the despair and the death that went hand in hand with sacrifice, heroism and bravery in the face of the most hideous of regimes, are nothing now but facts to digest and spout and rattle off to pass an exam as some would do to the Renaissance period or the Norman invasion.
To those that still understand the point of making such films, of remembering the horror and holding certain thoughts of absolute evil to account, Anthopoid is quite possibly the finest depiction of one of the most notable events of World War Two, the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague by the members of the Czech resistance and two brave paratroopers.
Cillian Murphy, Jamie Doran and Harry Lloyd dominate the screen, their pain, their refusal to cow down to the force before them and the indomitable sense of heroism that comes off all three actors as they capture the essence of the true events that led to assassinating one of the most evil, most ruthless and despotic men in 20th Century Europe.
As Jan Kubis, Josef Gabcík and Adolf Opálka, the three actors portrayed the last days of the heroes as they planned their attack, carried out the execution and battled to the last man inside the Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prague with such quiet dignity, such incredible acting solemnity, that it is possible to suggest that any audience watching this will be so wrapped up in the conflict at hand that not a breath will be heard as the credits roll over them. Stunned and objective silence is always a terrific sign that a film has left a lasting and indelible stamp on the conscious of the audience.
Anthopoid must surely go down as one of the finest films that connects the desperate black times that engulfed Europe in the 20th Century, along with The Great Escape, Saving Private Ryan, Conspiracy, Escape From Sobibor and A Bridge Too Far, Anthopoid is a genuine classic that should be preserved for generations to come as a depiction of true courage.
A film of quiet understated brilliance, an absolute must see for all generations.
Ian D. Hall