Sneak Peek: Anthropoid
From Bleecker Street: ANTHROPOID is based on the extraordinary true story of “Operation Anthropoid,” the code name for the Czechoslovakian operatives’ mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich.
Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution, was the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Himmler and the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia. The film follows two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile, Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan), who are parachuted into their occupied homeland in December 1941. With limited intelligence and little equipment in a city under lockdown, they must find a way to assassinate Heydrich, an operation that would change the face of Europe forever.
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová, Harry Lloyd, Alena Mihulová, Marcin Dorociński, Bill Milner, Sam Keeley, Jiří Šimek, Mish Boyko, Václav Neužil, Andrej Polák and Toby Jones
Directed By: Sean Ellis
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: We have a special “Sneak Peek” for you, listeners.
The Critic: A “Sneak Peek.”
Ref: The Critic and I got to see the new movie that’s coming out, called “Anthropoid.” (emphasizes the “d” and laughs)
Critic: (echoes the Ref’s pronunciation of “Anthropoid”)
Ref: He makes me give that “d” a nice ring: duh! (laughter) It is written by Sean Ellis, also directed by Sean Ellis. It’s also written by Anthony Frewin — that’s how we’re gonna say it.
Ref: And, the cast are people you know. It is a star-studded cast: Jamie Dornan from “50 Shades of Grey” or “The Fall,” pick your one.
Critic: Let’s pick “The Fall.” (laughter) Believe it!
Ref: Cillian Murphy from every, single Chris Nolan film. (laughter)
Critic: He was in “Red Eye” — remember that? — with my girl.
Ref: No. “Red Eye”?
Critic: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Check out “Red Eye.” It’s fun.
Ref: And, then, also some people you may or may not know, but Toby Jones is also in it. Just on and on, we’ll talk about these people. It is a movie that is worth talking about. So, let’s dive into the plot.
Critic: Oh, my goodness. It starts off — so, this is a World War II film, everyone. OK? So, you know where you are. It’s [the] end of the 30s, early 40s, but this time, it’s set in Czechoslovakia.
Critic: It starts, giving us the background: Germany takes over Czechoslovakia; there’s a Czechoslovakian resistance. Also, from London, they send in parachutists. So, there are parachutists that come in. They want to kill the “number three” guy —
Ref: — of the Nazi Party.
Critic: There you go. Now, while they’re coming from London, they are from that area — they are from Eastern Europe, all of these seven guys who do this. Now, two of them are played by Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan — they’re the leads. We see them drop in (laughing) to Czechoslovakia and go from there.
Ref: And, it’s not a graceful drop in for both of them. (laughing)
Critic: It is not. And, throughout, the question is: Can they trust the people that they’re encountering? Because, along the way, they meet someone who seems like he’s going to help. Then, they go and find some other people who are part of the resistance: Are they trustworthy? Are there any moles? They meet a couple of ladies —
Critic: — and an older woman who helps them out. And so on, and so forth. So, just to make it quick: It ends up with them, again, trying to kill the “number three” guy of the Nazis: General Reinhard Heydrich.
Ref: Heydrich. It’s kinda like Hydra. (laughter)
Critic: Yeah, yeah. So, the question is: Do they get ‘em? And, then, what’s the repercussions of that.
Ref: That’s right.
Critic: So, where do you want to take it from there?
Ref: Well, we do need to tell the listeners that this is loosely based on a true story. So, this isn’t a made-up incident. It is loosely based on the Seven, they call them, the Seven who really started the success of the resistance for the rest of the world when it came to World War II.
Ref: I think we need to dive into — ‘cause that’s the gist of it — we need to dive into the feel of the movie.
Ref: You’re sitting in your seat cushioning. And, before your eyes is a beautiful —
Ref: — beautiful film.
Ref: I mean, it almost looks like it wasn’t shot digitally. It’s a beautiful film, aesthetically. You could see the hardness of that time, of Czechoslovakia, but also its soft tones.
Critic: Yeah, whatever filter they put on that was great. The sepia tones — they had some blues. It reminded me of this, Ref: It’s like if you have — if you still have — picture books. (laughing)
Ref: (laughing) Yeah.
Critic: — photo books. And, you flip through. And, it’s that kinda grainier —
Critic: — kinda picture in color. Oh, it was great.
Ref: And, that’s the feel you get. Even though, you’re seeing a lot of action. You’re seeing a lot of different plot twists and shifts and tones happening. Throughout the movie, it is absolutely beautiful. The music is spot on. It drives the movie. It also cuts out when it needs to.
Ref: The sound effects of all of the shooting and even the walking on the cobble road — I was thinking of that. It’s just a beautiful, aesthetic experience. But, let’s get into the actual movie.
Critic: Here’s what I have to say: The actors —
Critic: — I mean, just wonderful. Cillian Murphy — let me tell you something about him —
Ref: Just hire him.
Critic: Yeah. You don’t even need to give him a line (laughter) and it’s clear. He grounded so many of those scenes, Ref, appropriately. He was the character to do it. And, the one scene I do want to highlight — what happens, everyone, is: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, they need a cover. So, they meet two ladies, out; they go out to a club. And, those two ladies are played by Charlotte Le Bon and Anna Geislerová, who are great.
Critic: Now, they show up in a way that is not pleasing to Cillian Murphy. He’s like, “Look” —
Ref: But, it’s the opposite of what you think.
Critic: Exactly, it’s surprising. And, it’s just so grounded. And, it’s so important for him to do that, because Jamie Dornan is the opposite end of that. He’s more optimistic; he’s the one who’s not as serious; he’s the one that’s more prone to fall in, what we think of as, romantic love … all of that stuff. So, I think it was a great counterpoint. And, the rest of the cast — Toby Jones —
Ref: Yeah, there was not a false moment as far as the cast. Moving on to the actual directing. The shots — and things that were created with it — was beautiful. You go from falling among the trees, kind of getting draped by these parachutists, to running around in the cobble streets of Czechoslovakia, to meeting in churches and cafés and, then, walking on the boardwalk. It’s just beautifully shot.
Ref: Now, go ahead. Get to —
Critic: OK. So, this is a movie in three parts. (laughter)
Ref: It is!
Critic: Let’s say that. Part one: Oh, I was so ready to go.
Ref: First 10 minutes is great.
Critic: Oh, even beyond that. I would give them the first half-hour. I was with them. I was like, “Y’all got it.” It was clicking. The rhythms were right. Everything was grounded. It was sparse when it needed to be. Perfect. The end — (laughing) I’m going to jump to that. The end is like a whole other movie. I mean, explosions. And, I have to say: This is not for the faint of heart. You’ve gotta be ready. It’s devastating —
Ref: Yeah. It’s graphic.
Critic: Yes, very graphic. Great … but the middle.
Ref: We’re not gonna totally agree, but go ahead.
Critic: The middle, to me, just didn’t connect the beginning and end in as credible of a way as it could’ve. Not saying it was bad. I just think it was inconsistent. While the acting was good, they were losing me every now and then. I think it could’ve been cleaned up; and, then, the end — the buildup to it — would’ve been clearer and more effective. So, overall, for me — just before you jump in — I think it’s good. Like, definitely, see it. It’s not perfect, but I was OK. I mean, I was OK, even at the end, forgiving them of that.
Ref: Well, I’m gonna jump in and say that I agree with you in the beginning. I do think we have three different movies: We have an action movie; we have a movie of romance; and, then, we have an espionage-thriller movie. And, then, I’m gonna add a fourth: We have a war movie —
Ref: — which is a completely different genre. Those four components didn’t, for me, weave in and out as naturally as — I mean, I don’t even know how naturally you can do that with four different movies.
Ref: At the beginning, we’re really focusing on these two parachutists and their little world. And, by the end, you’re focusing on something completely different.
Ref: And, for me, shave off 45 minutes of the film — I’m good. I was good with the middle. (laughter) I was good with the beginning. I didn’t know what the end was, because I didn’t care enough. Why? Because I didn’t get enough information —
Ref: — about the other people that you have to, as an audience member, care about in order to sit through 30 minutes of war. I mean, literally, it’s an all-out, graphic, gutsy war.
Critic: Yeah. And, that’s where, in the middle, with the romantic parts, some of that could’ve been taken out to give you exactly what you said, Ref — to give us more of the full seven parachutists, instead of two.
Ref: Or, cut out the seven and give me the other. (laughter) It’s either/or for me. But, here’s what we will say: We’re not bashing this movie.
Ref: This movie — for me, you don’t have to go to the theater to see it. Because, for me, it was, like, a good 30 minutes of sitting in my seat; and I’m glad I didn’t drink a coffee! (laughter) before I went in. But, it is a great movie to sit down, in your home, stream it, with popcorn, great conversation. You’re gonna want to get on the internet and look up — “What the heck! Did this really happen?” You’re gonna want to talk about it. It’s a great art-house movie. It’s a good experience.
Ref: And, if you don’t want anything other than just great acting: It’s worth it. So, definitely, for me, check out “Anthropoid” maybe when it’s On Demand, on Amazon, Netflix, whenever it comes out, or if you see it in a small theater. I don’t know if you have to pay $15 to see it. That would’ve been a challenge for me.
Ref: I have to say that if you do go into the movies to see it, you’re gonna walk out with something.
Critic: Yeah, if you’re a fan of that kind of drama — those kind of films — you can definitely see it in the theater. Otherwise, just like the Ref said, you can wait. Either way — I’m telling you — at the end, (laughing) you’re gonna be in a different place: Complete silence is what happens.
Ref: Well, you can check out “Anthropoid” in a theater near you. We hope that you do. And, if you don’t, you might be missin’ out on something.