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My Letterboxd Watchlist #3: Anthropoid (2016)

My Letterboxd watchlist journey continues today with a film recommended to me a couple of years ago, Anthropoid (2016), a movie that sounds like science fiction, but isn’t.


The Set-Up

Two agents from the exiled Czech government, Slovak soldier Jozef (Cillian Murphy, right) and Czech Jan (Jamie Dornan, left) parachute into their occupied country to assassinate Nazi high official Reinhard Heydrich. These men are poised to set Operation Anthropoid in motion, but they’ll need help. The question is, who can they trust? Are the men who claim to be members of the resistance telling the truth? Also, can Jozef and Jan even get close enough to carry out their mission?

Who’s Responsible for This?

During pre-pandemic times, my friend Eden and I would frequently share what movies we were watching. My recommendations were usually films that came out at least 30 years ago, and hers were normally from the last 18 months, but her description of Anthropoid intrigued me. It was actually the earliest entry on my Letterboxd watchlist, which meant I probably entered it about three years ago.

The Verdict

Although practically no one talks about this movie, it’s one of the best, least formulaic WWII pictures in a long time, filled with superior period design and detail, strong performances, and good writing. Based on actual events, Anthropoid never drags, is always compelling, and refuses to rely on WWII movie clichés (flag-waving speeches, dying last words to a sweetheart, and many others). Although convinced that one character in particular served only to provide a multi-Kleenex opportunity, I was delighted to be proven wrong. Almost no one talks about this thriller from just a few years ago. It’s one of the best, least formulaic WWII films in a long time with superior period design and detail, strong performances, and good writing. (The film also includes an appearance from one of my favorite character actors, Toby Jones.) See it. It’s on Kanopy and Hulu right now.

So take a look at my watchlist and tell me what I should watch next.

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