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Laramie Movie Scope: Anthropoid

Grim World War II assassin's tale

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 4, 2017 -- This historical drama about Operation Anthropoid, the plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, one of the highest ranking military officers in Nazi Germany, is grim and straightforward.

The film follows two of the assassins, Jozef Gabcík (played by Cillian Murphy of “Inception”) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan of “Fifty Shades of Grey”) from the time they parachute into German–occupied Czechoslovakia until their final shootout with German troops in a church in Prague.

Reinhard Heydrich, was not only the highest ranking German officer in Czechoslovakia, he was head of the Reich Main Security Office and was a main architect of the Holocaust. He was targeted for assassination by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, and Jan and Josef were trained for this mission by British Special Operations forces.

Jan and Joseph were nearly arrested when they landed, but made it into Prague in a stolen truck. Their Czechoslovakian Resistance contact in Prague had been arrested, but they managed to find what was left of the resistance. Heydrich had been brutally efficient infiltrating and eliminating much of the resistance.

The few members of the resistance who remained, led by “Uncle” Jan Zelenka-Hajský (Toby Jones of “The Man Who Knew Infinity”) reluctantly agreed to help the assassins, knowing full well that it was a difficult assignment and that even if it was not successful, Nazi retaliation would be terrible for the country. They also knew that anyone connected with the assassination, and many that were not connected with it, would be killed afterwards. There was some opposition to the assassination plot within the resistance because of its consequences.

The plot itself is carried off like a heist, with careful planning, mapping out the route that Heydrich drove each day. The plot involved several people working as lookouts. One man was to deliberately walk in front of Heydrich's car to slow it down, while Jan and Josef would use guns and bombs to kill Heydrich. It doesn't exactly go as planned.

While they worked on the plot, Jan and Josef stayed in the home of one of the members of the resistance, and traveled around town accompanied by two women, so as not to attract attention to themselves. The two women are Marie Kovárníková (Charlotte Le Bon of “The Walk”) and Lenka Fafková (Anna Geislerová). There is a romantic attraction between these people. Marie and Jan agree to be married.

There are some twists and turns in this grim wartime tale both before and after the assassination plot is finally carried out. The acting is solid, as are the production values of this well-constructed film. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2017 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)