This dramatised bio-pic about the WW2 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is based on a novel entitled ‘HHhH’ – ‘Himmler’s brain is named Heydrich.’ Quite clever, but perhaps too subtle for a mainstream movie audience.
There’s another film about the same subject – Anthropoid – which majors on the Czech soldiers and their undercover mission. ‘The Man With The Iron Heart‘ concentrates instead on the bad guy himself… always a bit tricky, given that there really isn’t any redeemable part of his character and trying to excuse his actions would signal immediate doom to any commercial enterprise.
Tough job for any actor, making an evil-doer comprehensible without engaging the audience’s sympathy. Jason Clarke did pretty well at maintaining that balance (no wonder he was cast as the evil version of John Connor in Terminator: Genysis. He’s got this bad-good-bad guy thing off pat).
Surprisingly, then, this was extremely watchable. It does a good job of unveiling the people who are usually characterised as monsters… making it harder to pigeonhole the atrocities of WW2 as isolated incidents, peculiar to a particular time and place.
After all, there are plenty of people as charming and dangerous as Heydrich in circulation today.
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
The Man With The Iron Heart is screening on BBC4 on 22 April and may be available on the BBC iPlayer thereafter
For more subtle twists, turns and international assassinations…
…find this gripping quick thriller at Amazon