Anthropoid

anthropoid_h_2016It is all too easy to ignore atrocities that are occurring in other parts of the world.   Awful things are happening right now, in Turkey and Syria and Lebanon and dozens of other countries.  We rarely hear about them in our media and at least for me, it is all too easy to brush off the few stories that I do see as being just another bad thing that happened in an unstable part of the world, and then go on with my day.Anthropoid_(film)

Anthropoid is a story of one of those bad things in an unstable part of the world, and seeing the events on screen made me feel horribly insensitive about brushing anything off just because it happened somewhere else.  Set in Czechoslovakia, the movie opens just after Great Britain, France and Italy stood by and watched Hitler’s Germany assimilate the Czechs, the Slovaks, and everyone else who had the misfortune of living next to those German assholes.   Of course, once they took control, Hitler and crew then started rounding up and murdering people by the thousands. Overseeing the operation was Hitler’s third in command, Reinhard Heydrich. Operation Anthropoid was the displaced Czechoslovakian government’s response to the occupation: an assassination attempt on Heydrich.

Anthropoid methodically takes us through the operation from incursion to aftermath. None of it is enjoyable in the least. That is not in any way a criticism of the movie. This is a tale told well and told with respect. It is a tense affair from beginning to end, and we become sufficiently familiar with the resistance group to feel the loss every time one of them is taken down by the Nazis. There are a lot of losses in Anthropoid and taken together they are overwhelming.

thumbnail_24585There are few illusions to be found among the resistance about walking away after the mission is over.  That may be the most disheartening part of the whole affair. Everyone involved knows that assassinating Heydrich will not win the war; rather, it is a kick to the hornet’s nest that will likely escalate Germany’s killing spree.  But it is all they can do and so they proceed.  The resistance members’ bravery in the face of there being no winning outcome is well-portrayed.  There are several memorable moments along those lines, including a nicely-played theme as one of our heroes learns to cope with the terror that all soldiers must experience.

Do not go into Anthropoid expecting to be entertained, as you will not be. And that’s okay.  As a movie, Anthropoid is solid but not spectacular, but as a lesson in humility and awareness, Anthropoid is important and deserves to be watched.  I am glad I saw it.

 

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20 thoughts on “Anthropoid

    1. Sean Post author

      Very true. This is 1941/1942 and for some reason Hitler is still not being fully opposed. I have to wonder why that was – maybe the Allies were spread too thin on other fronts but that seems like a poor excuse for turning their backs to a whole country.

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  1. Lara/Trace

    I plan to see this and probably cry my eyes out. I still have my WWII thing going with study, Sean. Thank you for this review!

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    1. Sean Post author

      You may find it doubly interesting if you are studying WWII already. I had no idea this had happened and it makes me wonder how much more went on during that horrible time.

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  2. tubularsock

    Tubularsock doesn’t need this movie to see the resistance forces being slaughtered by the U.S. as our population sleeps to the atrocities much like the German population did. But great review, Sean. Now, just where did Tubularsock put that grenade again?

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    1. Sean Post author

      There are very scary parallels here. We are not very far from something like this happening again. Or maybe it already is happening because we’re not paying attention.

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  3. calensariel

    I MUST find this! I am so caught up in WWII history. Am currently reading “Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust.” It’s pretty heavy. But there’s such a message in these movies and books that we are in danger of forgetting. I’m afraid one day our history books will sum us up like the beginning of Fellowship of the Rings (movie) where Gladys is narrating. (Yes, I know her name is not Gladys. :D)

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    1. Sean Post author

      The title of that book reflects how I felt about the Germans in this movie (and not just). That ordinary people are so willing to commit atrocities is both terrifying and all too real. Those are definitely messages that we need to remember.

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  4. Birgit

    I do want to see this film because of the content. It sounds very interesting actually. My mom, who is German, was part of the resistance movement against her own countrymen. She, my uncle and some others in the area tried to disrupt the Germans from advancing so they would blow up bridges. My mo. Set the dynamite because she was the smallest. I never knew this part of her life until my cousin dropped by and explained this story to my me and to her daughter.

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    1. Sean Post author

      That is incredible! Hard to imagine how that felt for her. Both my grandfathers fought in the war and I wish I knew more about their stories. Thanks for sharing your mom’s.

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  5. reocochran

    This was an informative review and it does open our minds to how we sometimes don’t know much about what is going on around us. I am sure our history books only skim the surface of things. Thanks, Sean.

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    1. Sean Post author

      Yes I think you are right about the history books just skimming the surface. There must be so many stories out there that we could learn from!

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  6. ruth

    I didn’t want to read this before I wrote my own thoughts on this. “Anthropoid is important and deserves to be watched. I am glad I saw it.” Totally agree!

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