Operation Mincemeat

Rating: 3 out of 5.

British cinema will always have a fascination with World War II. Dunkirk and Darkest Hour are recent offerings. Just this past January, we were blessed with Munich: The Edge of War which detailed Hitler’s early designs on Czechoslovakia. I now present Operation Mincemeat, a true-life tale about the effort to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily. This involves obtaining a corpse and passing it off as a fallen soldier with secret documents suggesting Greece is the real target.

The best thing about the film is the cast which features Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen. Coincidentally, the two actors have each played Mr. Darcy in versions of Pride and Prejudice, Firth in a 1995 BBC production, and Macfadyen in the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley. The intelligence officers plan the disinformation campaign. Even Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn) — yes, the future writer of James Bond — is tapped to help. Despite the fact that the central pair are on the same side, feelings of jealousy arise. Both are attracted to a widowed secretary who works in their office. Actress Kelly Macdonald portrays Jean Leslie. Jason Issacs oversees the tactical deception as Admiral John Godfrey. And what WWII drama would be complete without an appearance by Winston Churchill? That role is occupied by Simon Russell Beale.

Operation Mincemeat is a solid production skillfully assembled by experienced director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). There are bits of levity inserted throughout. The attempts at humor enliven the atmosphere. If you relish fact-based espionage, then you’ll find this to be a competent melodrama ably supported by a talented ensemble. However, the account is a little too content to rely on proficient actors simply doing their thing. This is one of those cases where the truth is stranger than fiction. Reading about the real-life mission is a lot more fascinating than the entanglements depicted here. The period piece is polished and genteel, but I craved more excitement. It all culminates with a telephone call informing the audience how the endeavor went. I won’t spoil the outcome, but any history buff will already know the answer. I was kind of anticipating a recreation of the attack. Now that would have been exciting.

05-11-22

One Response to “Operation Mincemeat”

  1. remake of “the man who never was”.

    Like

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