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Home Entertainment: ‘The Man With The Iron Heart’ Blu-Ray Review

by Kat Hughes

Starring Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Stephen Graham, Jack Reynor and Mia Wasikowska The Man with the Iron Heart features an accomplished cast. That cast are put to work in Cédric Jimenez’ take on the infamous assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, Operation Anthropoid. The year is 1942 and the Third Reich is at its zenith. Reinhard Heydrich, dubbed ‘the man with the iron heart’ by Hitler himself, has risen to the top of the Nazi party as head of the SS and the Gestapo. Believing that he is unstoppable, Heydrich is unaware that a small group of Czech Resistance fighters have put a plan in motion to end his evil ways once and for all. The Man with the Iron Heart review by Kat Hughes.

The Man With The Iron Heart review

The Man With The Iron Heart review

Based on the novel HHhH by Laurent Binet, The Man with the Iron Heart tells this incredible true story over the course of two hours. The story begins with a pre-Nazi party Heydrich (Clarke) crossing paths with the beautiful Lina (Pike); the pair become close and after Lina reveals herself to be a Hitler enthusiast. Heydrich subsequently finds himself drawn into the party and soon begins to rise through the ranks. After the mess that was Terminator Genisys, Jason Clarke is once more on form and gives a strong performance as the titular iron-hearted man. It’s a brave actor that takes on such a deplorable figure and Clarke does a commendable job of making Heydrich more that just a Nazi caricature. Both director and star work to show Heydrich’s role as a father and keen musician, and frankly it’s a little unsettling seeing such a historic monster in such ordinary settings.

Before we get too comfortable with him though, around the fifty minute mark, we switch sides and follow Jan (O’Connell) and Jozef (Reynor) as they arrive in Prague ready to put their assassination plan into action. After so long spent with the one character it’s a little jarring to suddenly swap to a completely different plot line, and with Heydrich and Lina practically disappearing, it takes a while to get back into the story.

Related: Anthropoid review | Gambling Sites

Bleak and depressing, The Man with the Iron Heart makes for a very tough watch. There are strong performances all round, but the film is weighed down too much with it’s subject matter, and there aren’t many moments of light for the audience to hold onto. Obviously given the context of the situation, you don’t want laughs a minute, but at times it feels that the film is too strict and serious. It’s hard to connect with the characters as they’re all so focused on their agendas that we don’t really get to know a huge amount about them.

The pacing too is slightly off. Far too much time is giving to connecting scenes that do little more than show the passage of time, or reinforce which part of the world we are in. These sequences go on for minutes, often accompanied by dramatic strings and haunting pianos which don’t quite match the montages on-screen. With so many popping up throughout the run time, it adds far more extra time than is necessary and bogs down what could have been a much more concise tale.

A whose-who of Australian, British and Irish talent (with everyone convincingly mastering their Eastern European accents) The Man with an Iron Heart is a well-acted film recounting one of the bravest assassination attempts in history. Let down by some questionable choices during the edit, The Man with the Iron Heart is nevertheless an enlightening wartime drama that makes for an interesting watch.

The Man with the Iron Heart review by Kat Hughes, January 2018.

The Man with the Iron Heart is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

 

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