Wartime suspense thrillers can be plenty effective even when just focusing on nuts and bolts; it’s a pleasant surprise when they offer at least a little more to chew on. And co-writer/director Sean Ellis finds an effective angle on the fact-based story of a 1942 plot by Czech nationalists—including Josef (Cillian Murphy) and Jan (Jamie Dornan)—to assassinate high-ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich in occupied Prague ("Anthropoid" is the plan's code-name). Ellis nails the centerpiece sequence as the plan is put into action, as the tension of waiting for the target turns a motorcycle backfire into a potential threat. But it’s also a story about the brutal realities of what freedom fighters sacrifice (including, fair warning, some cringe-inducing sequences of torture), as the tentative romances begun by Josef and Jan collide with their mission. The climatic sequence involving a siege on the conspirators’ hiding place by the German army loses a bit of the character momentum as it lingers, but Anthropoid offers more than a historical footnote in its respect for the high price of being a patriot.
Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Anthropoid