‘Killing Heydrich’

Initially released under the title The Man With the Iron Heart, the (predominantly) Prague-set Second World War feature is based on the assassination of Reich-Protector Reinhard Heydrich, regarded by many historians as the darkest figure within the Nazi regime and the principal behind The Final Solution.

A disgraced navy officer, Heydrich (a miscast Jason Clarke – Terminator Genysis, Chappaquiddick) rose to power with the unstinting support of his aristocratic wife, Lina Von Osten (Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl, I Care a Lot), who initially introduced him to the Nazi Party. Juxtaposed by director Cédric Jimenez (La French, Paris Under Watch) are UK scenes of Czechs-in-exile training for the killing of one of the most feared men in Europe. Operation Anthropoid was carried out on 27 May 1942, with Heydrich dying from his wounds a week later.

Sadly, Killing Heydrich is an uneven template of a narrative. A few early scenes showing a vicious, self-centred narcissist off-set by the family man. Furtive underground meetings to plan the assassination and subsequent escape route for assassins Jan Kubis (Jack O’Connell – 71, Money Monster) and Jozef Gabcík (Jack Reynor – Midsommar, Detroit). Confusion on the streets of Prague and the subsequent reprisals.

It’s the background knowledge that provides the emotion to the narrative and the sense of justice (albeit slight) served. Little went to plan other than, ultimately, the death of Heydrich. Jimenez’s film fails to capture any real sense of evil or the thrill of the underground resistance’s carefully worked out operation.

Rating: 40%

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