A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Anthropoid is a World War II story about the real-life attempted assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. The movie has very strong violence, including shooting, explosions, bloody wounds, blood spatters and puddles, and death. Multiple characters commit suicide, either via gunshots to the head or cyanide capsules. There are brief but gruesome Nazi torture scenes that include breaking a boy's fingers and showing him a woman's severed head in a bucket. One brief suggested sex scene shows a man getting dressed near a woman who's in bed; there's also some kissing. Characters smoke cigarettes frequently (accurate for the time period), but language is minimal, with the German "scheisse" ("s--t") used a few times and "whore" used once. Though the movie is depressing and dull, the core story is important, and it could be worthy of discussion.
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What's the story?
As ANTHROPOID begins, two parachuters -- Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) -- land in occupied Czechoslovakia during WWII. Their mission -- "Operation Anthropoid" -- is to assassinate third-in-command Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, otherwise known as the "Butcher of Prague" and the architect of Hitler's "Final Solution." With the help of Czech underground rebels, the pair learns about Heydrich's comings and goings, and before long, it's time. But the attempt doesn't go exactly as planned, and the two men find themselves hiding out in a church while the Nazis begin a cruel, systematic manhunt, mowing down anyone who stands in their way. Will the soldiers' work be worth something in the end?
Is it any good?
There are many important WWII stories worth telling, but sometimes movies, like this one, take the wrong approach, and we end up with something that's poorly made, tedious, and depressing. Writer/director Sean Ellis and co-writer Anthony Frewin apparently researched Anthropoid heavily, but they still managed to leave out basic details that would let an audience know a little something about the characters -- or even how to tell the seven total parachutists in the story apart from one another.
We're rarely aware of simple details like "who," "what," "where," or "why." The overall gray sheen and the irritating, constantly wobbly shaky-cam cinematography don't help, especially since much of the movie is shot in close or medium shots. Anthropoid is structured in such a way that it's either numbingly repetitive or anti-climactic -- or else it falls back on overly familiar modern transitional techniques to bridge the events. The ending will leave most viewers thoroughly dispirited.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Anthropoid's violence. How does the fact that this is based on a true story affect its impact? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Why is assassination sometimes considered a heroic deed? Do you agree with that assessment? Are these characters heroes? What was gained -- and what was lost -- due to their actions? What would the alternative have been?
How does this movie compare to other WWII movies you may have seen? How does it expand your idea or your knowledge of that time in history? How could you find out more if you wanted to?
How accurate do you think the movie is to the facts of what happened? Why might filmmakers choose to adjust events in a movie based on a true story?
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