Release Date: 9/9/2016
Cast: Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy
Director: Sean Ellis
Rating: 4/5 Cans of war-time beer.
Authors: Tony & Adam
Moving up ever so slightly in the world we were lucky enough to go along to the premiere of Anthropoid in Dublin earlier this month. Also at the premiere was a fantastic opportunity to take part in a Q & A session with the Director, Sean Ellis & Cillian Murphy afterwards as they touched on the nuances of historical re-enactments. The event covered in this film is a very important one. One that still echoes through the country it happened in and marks a very dark time in humanity’s history and the effects of aggressive occupation on civilian life. They made a wonderful, humble and factual film about the events of operation Anthropoid in World War 2.
I’ve been hearing a lot of very mis-informed criticisms floating out of RTE (sue me) over the last week about the accents of Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan, the Czech accent is quite a subtle one. I can see how if you never heard a Czech person speak english before you may think they put on a very broad stereotypical ‘wodka’ accent, but they didn’t. I felt the same, particularly when Cillian Murphy opened his mouth after the film into the mic and shattered the accent I had been hearing on-screen for the last two hours. But what changed my opinion was the Czech people in the crowd, who asked questions into a microphone, heard by the full screen and they sounded exactly as he did. They even commended it. If you’re bothered by the accents in the film you need to suspend your disbelief and get Peaky Blinders and 50 Shades of Whip Me Harder out of your mind before you see this film.
Apart from telling a very tense and harrowing story about two regular soldiers trying to assassinate a high-ranking Nazi in an occupied country, and the unsettling tone it sets of living in fear and hiding; what this film does extraordinarily well is give you a feeling of real terror. There are fates worse than death. You’ll know when you see it, this film makes you beg for an outcome for the main characters that no other film has ever made you do. I won’t spoil it, I won’t deprive you of the strange tense feeling that will come over you when you see this film. Much like Argo, it shows the horror involved in being a fugitive in an occupied country and the utter, devastating danger involved in war. I’ve seen many war movies, we all have, but this was the only one that made me feel so unbelievably lucky I do not live in a country that’s at war.
One scene in particular that haunted me, and made me awash with a feeling of bottom-of-my-gut terror is the interrogation scene. Made all the more terrifying and somber when they revealed during the Q&A afterwards that they shot it in the actual room that the infamous interrogation happened in. A commitment to honouring the events that must be applauded. People often report having panic attacks during tours of concentration camps so I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to go into that room, and act out the things they did.
In fact, the attention to detail is amazing throughout. Just like in Dublin, where on O’Connell street the pillars of the GPO still have bullet holes in them, so too does the church where the famous stand-off took place. Again, all filmed in the same secret vaults under the church that the events actually happened in. A haunting silence followed by moved and emotional applause thundered through the screen when this film ended.
They really paid attention to the small details, apparently having to reshoot a pivotal scene on the recommendation of a historian they had on set. The historian noticed the soles of the one of the characters shoes were anachronistic and had not been invented at this time in history. They reshot a very pivotal and expensive scene just to be factually correct.
Historic thrillers have typically been few and far between on the silver screen although a slight resurgence of the genre has begun the last two years. last year had the release of the academy award-winning The Revenant and the contender Bridge of Spies. Unfortunately last year also saw the release of the abysmal Child 44 which I had the misfortune of paying to see. Child 44 is a prime example of a squandered film, it neither adapted its source material faithfully or made any use its stellar cast. I prayed going into this premiere that it would not be the same case.
Fortunately Sean Ellis is a far more competent Director who told us during the Q and A how this film was his passion project. Not only has Ellis written and directed Anthropoid he also shot the film, in most cases with a handheld camera. The result of this speaks for itself, not one shot of this film is wasted with camera always right where it needs to be to get the full range of emotions on each actors face.
Like Calvary, this is one of those films that I feel is absolutely amazing but hits so hard and brings such horrible parts of humanity to light, I don’t know if I want to watch it again.
If you’ve seen it, please let us know what you think and follow us for more reviews on @ReelTimeDublin. Click the link below to see our tweets from the night!