sean-ellis

Anthropoid

I should write these things when I’ve just seen the movie, when the scent is still fresh. Otherwise, unless a movie is either superb or abominable, only faint impressions remain. Anthropoid is neither. While I could write you a beat-by-beat outline, little of the flavor stayed with me.

I remember thinking that Cillian Murphy plays Josef Gabcík as too stoic to be relatable. Maybe that’s how he was, I wrote, maybe that’s what’s required.

I remember wondering what was up with the Heidrich figurine, then concluding the act of carving was just another way to keep himself occupied while he waited. A meditative whittling away at something to put the mind at rest. A manual skill, much like how the combat-ready exercises constitute the infiltrators’ oral history.

I remember the great sound design. The small clink of metal as he opens his bag, full of ammo and weapon parts. The ticking watches. The bang from a motorcycle’s exhaust. I remember thinking that when there was a silence, it counted.

I remember Anna Geislerová’s steely performance, surprised that we got a Czech actress playing a Czech character. What’s the world coming to? Soon they’ll start giving Asian characters to non-whites.

I remember another movie like this, years ago. I remember thinking (back then, with the first movie) that their actions, and how things unfolded, was romantic - not in a “Romeo and Juliet” sense, but in a “Tale of Two Cities” way. Operation Daybreak, probably, although by this point both movies blur together in my head.

I remember the lyrical last sequence and wondering if they were a pawn sacrifice so that Britain could claim the moral high ground over Chezchoslovakia.

I don’t remember if it all came together, or if I wanted to recommend it.

I don’t think it did. I’m not sure I did.