Nov 102016

Anthropoid is a solid war-drama that started slow but finished really strong with a suspense-filled finale that more than made up for any drawbacks, mainly an emotional distance, that occurred early on, though all throughout Cillian Murphy gives an impressive performance.




Genre(s): War, Drama, Thriller
Universal | R – 121 min. – $29.98 | November 1, 2016

Date Published: 11/10/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Sean Ellis
Writer(s): Sean Ellis and Anthony Frewin (written by)
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová, Toby Jones
Featurette, Storyboard Comparisons
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 43.4 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 4.0/5

Note: This review contains some SPOILERS, so readers beware.

I’ve posted in the past that I have an interest in anything involving or the lead up to World War II and when done well, these films captivate my attention. There have been a few that have fallen short (Company of Heroes, Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the 4th Reich) but most have been absolutely fascinating given the number of stories and campaigns that were involved. At the start, Anthropoid was merely a pretty good film with wasted potential but with a thrill-filled and dramatic finale, it more than made up for its shortcomings.

Josef Gabcik (CILLIAN MURPHY) and Jan Kubis (JAMIE DORNAN) parachute into German occupied Czechoslovakia with orders from the Czech London embassy with a mission codenamed Operation Anthropoid: to assassinate the Reich’s third in command, SS General Reinhard Heydrich nicknamed the Butcher of Prague. This secret mission has an auspicious start first by being betrayed by their initial contact followed by being careful once in Prague where the Germans are on alert for any members of the resistance, which they find out has dwindled, others being captured, tortured and killed.

To help blend in, Jan and Josef are accompanied by Marie (CHARLOTTE LE BON) and her friend, Lenka (ANNA GEISLOEROVA), both strongly against the German occupation. Soon, both Josef and Jan fall for the respective ladies. In the meantime, they receive pushback from the resistance leaders as an assassination would only compound problems for the Czech people and logistically, it’s difficult as Heydrich is difficult to get to, with randomly scheduled armed escorts.

Anthropoid is a pretty basic story and for the first 45 minutes (give or take) is a tad slow and the distantly emotional even after one major character dies. But things pick up for the final act in what I call (and presumably others), the church sequence where not only is it action packed but had some true and authentic emotions that, although I didn’t cry, I actually began to care about these characters, even the ones with minimal screen time.

The performances, particularly by Cillian Murphy and Charlotte Le Bon, were strong, though with Murphy and Jamie Dornan, who had some solid scenes, it took some time to get used to their Czech accents which, at least to my ears, sounded somewhat authentic. But each, including Geisloerova, were quite good and at least captured my attention, including a fascinating mostly unknown story.

The movie was co-scripted and directed by Sean Ellis whose previous films included Cashback and The Broken with Lena Headey and for his a heavy-handed war drama that this is, I felt he did a nice job even when the story began to lag a bit before bouncing back at the harrowing end, which Ellis beautifully shot also serving as the cinematographer.

In the end, Anthropoid may not be in the top 20 or even 50 of World War II films but after a slow start, the film finished so well making up for any prior deficiencies. Murphy and Le Bon both gave noteworthy performances and even Dornan showed flashes of talent.



This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

The features are a bit limited but there is a semi-lengthy The Making of Anthropoid (30:15; HD) featurette and Storyboard to Film Comparisons (15:11; HD).


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Anthropoid is shown in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. Detail looks relatively sharp throughout even with a heavy bout of noise. Colors though are on the drab side geared more towards natural tones from browns and beige so outside of the occasional reds in the Nazi flags, there’s not a whole lot that pops off the screen.

AUDIO – 4.5/5

The disc includes a pretty impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which shows off each and every channel quite nicely. Through most of the film dialogue sounds crisp, clear and clean but when we get towards the end, including a harrowing torture scene, front and rear speakers output gut-crunching screams from all directions. The music, from composer Robin Foster, comes through adequately as well.


OVERALL – 3.75/5

Overall, Anthropoid is a solid war-drama that started slow but finished really strong with a suspense-filled finale that more than made up for any drawbacks, mainly an emotional distance, that occurred early on, though all throughout Cillian Murphy gives an impressive performance. The Blu-ray released by Universal offers great video/audio transfers and limited in the features department, however the making-of featurette wasn’t half bad.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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