Operation Mincemeat Movie Review & Summary: Engaging Portrayal Of A Battle Of Wits And Consequences

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

If anything’s a testimony to the strength of the spy-thriller genre, it’s the continued love that the James Bond movies have enjoyed over a time spanning decades of high-adrenaline action and thrilling espionage adventure. When the man behind arguably the most famous spy the world has known is involved in the saga presented, it becomes an easy sell for the audiences to bite into.

Operation Mincemeat not only benefits from Ian Fleming’s involvement in the real-life events it depicts but the utilization of the character by the makers to serve as the narrator of this unbelievably absurd story adds to the charm of this thrilling drama. 

Operation Mincemeat Movie Cast

  • Colin Firth as Ewen Montagu
  • Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Cholmondeley
  • Kelly Macdonald as Jean Leslie
  • Rufus Wright as Lt. Bill Jewell
  • Ruby Bentall as Connie Bukes

Operation Mincemeat Movie Plot

Based on real events, Operation Mincemeat was a successful operation conducted by the British during the Second World War to disguise the 1943 Allied Invasion of Sicily. The film focuses on the efforts of the British officers Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley who carry out an elaborate mission, based on deception, to throw off Hitler’s forces from Sicily so that an allied invasion of the Italian island will be met with minimum resistance.

The two officers with the assistance of their colleagues at the Admiralty, which included Ian Fleming, gain possession of a body belonging to Glyndwr Michael who they disguise as Captain William Martin. They plant his body with fake documents that suggest that the Allied forces are planning to attack Greece and Sardinia, instead of Sicily. Hoping that the information will reach Hitler in time forcing him to divert forces from Sicily, the two officers work out a plan as the result of the war depend on the success of their ingenious and absurd mission. 

Operation Mincemeat Movie Review

Operation Mincemeat Movie Review

Operation Mincemeat’s greatest point of interest is its gripping plot rooted in the familiar setting of the Second World War. With the obvious heroes and villains, the ground is set for the movie and it’s not forced to do any major legwork, thanks to the lore of the war that’s been already well-established by virtue of the many war drama movies that have preceded this one. 

With Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen leading the story as two British officers who must put an absurd-sounding plan into action and bring it to fruition, the interesting set of characters against the backdrop of the World War II-era Britain brings to life a period that’s soaked in the terror and drama of a global war. The voice of Ian Fleming provides adequate context to the story of spies who fight equally great battles but are seldom remembered as heroes of a war that’s painted with blood and death. Equally important struggles ensue behind closed doors that potentially decide the fate of those marching on the ground- a point that the film repeatedly tries to convey. 

Operation Mincemeat utilizes the backdrop of the larger struggle to convey a story filled with humorous dilemmas that the team of officers face when plotting a plan to fool the Führer in a bid to win the war that may decide the fate of all humanity. The British humour is hard to miss and adds to the absurd turn of events that must fit along perfectly into the final puzzle for the mission at hand to work. The underlying humour that accompanies the story keeps the drama refreshing and engaging while successfully conveying the gravity of the challenge being faced. 

While keeping up the humour in a very subtle manner, the film doesn’t make any compromises on the drama it delivers. The drama of the war and the peculiarity of the mission is supported by taking some creative liberties with the suspicion of Montagu’s brother being a Russian spy and a love triangle developing between the central characters. The film manages to hold together the humour with the drama and doesn’t sacrifice any to compensate for the other. 

Throughout the course of the film, the level of details that will be bombarded upon the receiver is immense, providing a greater depth of insight into the execution of a course-altering mission conducted by real officers during a real war. The minute details and attention paid to every aspect of the mission, which involves giving a dead man a seemingly real identity and serving him as the carrier to an equally cunning opponent, is praiseworthy in every sense. If anything, the film perfectly conveys the chronology of the real-life events with relative ease and simplicity that may have felt overwhelming if not executed with the sheer perfection that Operation Mincemeat achieves. The film achieves the conviction required to tell a tale of sheer preposterousness that was overcome by employing daring ingenuity. 

The film does fall behind in capturing the dire nature of the consequences the failure of the protagonists may lead to. While pacing between quick conversations among the pivotal characters as they work out a story that supports their plan and the personal struggles the characters go through with a hint of romance and mistrust, the film overtly attempts to bring the greatness of the characters and the events to the viewer’s notice, often through the narrative prowess of Johnny Flynn who plays Ian Fleming. In a very poetic manner, the narrator gives this Second World War drama a tone of a Greek epic which largely falls out of place with the subtlety and groundedness of the rest of the film. While the drama demands attention from the viewer lest one should miss out on an important detail, it’s this cinematic grandeur in the presentation and dialogues that prevents the film from achieving true glory in the annals of compelling spy thrillers. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Operation Mincemeat presents the real-life story it deals with in a manner that’s dignified as well as justified. As the film tries to provide a balanced view into the personal challenges faced by the people involved in espionage with the greater problems they must tackle for the greater good, it also balances humour with drama to serve a story that’s truly cherishable for war and spy-thriller fans.

While it fails to truly evoke an emotional response, even after repeated attempts, toward the harsh realities of the war faced by those who work tirelessly in the background, on many fronts Operation Mincemeat achieves what a war-drama spy-thriller really should- present an intriguing story in the most palatable manner. 

Author

  • Shreejit is an aspiring writer and a journalism student. He loves philosophizing books and cinema. Coming to movies, horror and tragic romances take the cake for him. Thrillers excite him too but nothing beats a tearjerker tragedy of Shakespearean proportions on a gloomy Monday night.