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It may seem unlikely that a Czech assassin holed up in a Prague church as he hides out from the Nazis with his fellow operatives would start perusing English playwright William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. But then again, they’ve got time on their hands, and the play is about an assassination. And more importantly, it contains the point of the film: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.” The complicating factor here is that their actions — the attempted assassination of the No. 3 Nazi in the Party — may wind up costing a great many more lives than just their own. And for what? Theirs not to reason why/ Theirs but to do and die... Director and co-writer Sean Ellis’s take on the real-life, hope-against-hope mission is pleasingly grounded in the logistics of something so seemingly simple as a shoot ’em up ambush, competently acted (if not always accented) by Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Jamie Dornan & Co., and handsomely photographed. The final showdown gets blown up and dragged out, but the slow-burning fuse of everything that comes before helps to justify the explosive release. (2016) — Matthew Lickona

Rated R | 2 hours
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