Anthropoid reminds Czechs we can be proud

Anthropoid, directed by British director Sean Ellis, stirred my patriotic feelings, which is quite rare for me, even though I consider myself a proud Czech. As it is an English movie, it has huge problems with pronunciation of the Czech names, which creates some very confusing accents. Lenka, played superbly by Anna Geislerova, and some other Czech actors are a little satisfaction for Czechs, who got the pure Czech Anthropoid theme kind of stolen by the Brits.

The first half of the movie tries to explain the plot. In my view this is not done very successfully, mainly because the directors do not spend enough time on it. The plot is narrated with bare facts and struggles with explaining the background. The love affair between the two main protagonists is forcibly created out of nowhere.

The movie begins with the parachute jump of the main characters. First there is Gabcik, played by Cillian Murphy, who seemed more competent in his role, and Kubis, played by Jamie Dornan. After some trouble, Gabcik and Kubis join up with the Prague resistance and other parachutists. There they passionately discuss if and how to proceed with the assassination of the third most important man in the Third Reich, Reinhard Heydrich. By the way, that is the first and last time Heydrich is portrayed in the movie.

The plot is barely halfway through when the parachutists carry out the assassination, which is, in my view, one of the biggest problems of the movie. It is too soon to make clear all the other circumstances which had in fact happened before. While the Nazis capture some hostages after the assassination, Lenka is shot when trying to escape. The whole second part of the movie consists of the parachutists hiding in the catacombs of a church and the Nazis searching for them amidst scenes of violence.

During the subsequent shootout there is the memorable sentence „We are Czechs, we will never give up.“ This is said by the parachutists, who answer to the challenge of the traitor brought by the Nazis, Karel Čurda, that they should give up. After a long tough fight, the Czechoslovakian heroes die in the catacombs of the church.

It could seem a bit harsh that the Czech movie creators let the operation Anthropoid plot be taken over by a foreign production. On the other hand, the heroic acts of Josef Gabcik and Jan Kubis will be better known abroad. If the movie had been done solely by Czechs, there would not be strange language issues as the story would have been adapted for the Czech viewer.

​Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty Kabinetu jazykové přípravy.

Foto credit: Česká televize

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