Anthropoid movie full length review - Fight Until It Is Time To Free Yourself
What is the best thing I can say about this movie? You will hear the appellation, Nazi, bandied about by the Right and Left; the movie presents them as they were. Trust me, these aren't the Nazis from The Sound Of Music. The movie's plot is about the famous assassination of Heydrich, Hitler's architect of the Final Solution. He was ruler of the Czech's who earned the name "The Hangman," for his cruelty towards the Czechs who slowed down the war production in their factories earning violent reprisals from Heydrich. The other great feature is how against type this movie is, I love Hangmen Also Die, but it is so clichéd compared to this. Josef, played by Murphy, is the icy of the pair, Jan is openly terrified about their mission. I won't spoil it for you, but the movie defies all expectations of a typical Hollywood movie. It is like a war version of Blood Simple, everything that can go wrong, does, just like real life. The other great feature is that the heroism is performed with shaking hands. From the first frame, after parachuting, their gear is stuck in a tree, the 'rescuers' are greeted with suspicion. Jan is shaking so profoundly that he cannot even get a shot off at a fleeing Nazi at point blank range. Be warned, you will see a Nazi interrogation session that is quite ugly in its realism.
The depiction of the costs of sheltering the assassins, of being fool enough to try to sell them out to the Nazis, also are stunningly unique for a war movie. Yes, tragic greedy boy thinks he is going to waltz into Gestapo headquarters, after seeing the huge reward flier, and collect his money, it doesn't go well. The movie is almost completely devoid of an orchestral score of any kind. The brutality of the Nazis is refreshing after we have endured decades of them being glamorized. You will see a middle aged mother punched full force in the face, breaking her nose, for not answering quickly enough to the Aryan slime bucket. Why did I give it a nine? Because I reserve nine or tens for movies that transport you to another place and time so effectively that you have to keep reminding yourself that this is a movie. Also, the characters are complex, they are full of flaws and humanity, not cartoon cutouts with whole string sections behind their every move. SPOILER: There is a nod to Braveheart with the spiritual ending where Murphy is eased in what must be done be seeing his beloved Lanka who was gunned down earlier.
I just loved the chaos of the movie, it hearkened back to City Of Life And Death; war is just like this, chaos. Besides the mistakes, surprises and unplanned rushed actions, the people are not all saints from Heaven. Some choose to save their own skins and forgo the heroism. The characters are so well written that the ones you think will be strong, mess up and the ones who earlier were cowards, make a heroic stand. The actions where they fail change them, many are killed just by little mistakes that lead to horrific consequences. You have to go back to old classics from WW2 to see Nazis shown as they were: utterly amoral atavists. We hear over the radio that, if the assassins don't soon surrender, 30,000 people will be shot. The ending is my favorite scene, Murphy renders it so well. What he sees gives him the strength to do what is necessary. My other favorite is Toby Jones, with the SS coming through the door, dropping his cyanide capsule upon the floor. They are getting closer, we hear them, he is chasing it around the base of the toilet. Want to know why I am so hard on the Sound Of Mucus?
This movie is the answer, Mucus is such a historical insult to the deaths of all the Europeans and Russians who were killed by those monsters to show them as sweet, funny buffoons. What they did to Holland, Poland, Russia and the Czechs is so despicable and unworthy of all the revisionism by oligarchs who now wish to sell Germany products. Only the slow pacing, in just a few spots, made me lower this from a ten to a nine. The best new movie I have watched since Sicario. Excellent. Die With The Sword In Your Hand, My Friends, Fighting For Good. Q.E.D.
"One Should Die Proudly When It Is No Longer Possible To Live Proudly."