It’s been a long time, but Operation Mincemeat is a WWII period drama I wanted to watch for a while now. Though it’s quite interesting, it’s also not what I expected.
Operation Mincemeat (2022) Film Review
Doing his part for the war is something Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) considers his calling. Or at least duty. Even at the possible cost of his marriage, he remains. With his wife and children off to America for their safety, Ewen is about a lead a small group of intelligence officers on a long term mission to fool their German enemies. The plan relies on Nazi spies believing that a washed up body is carrying top secret mission documents.
Included in this mission, which many in the rank and file find implausible, is Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen); Hester Leggett (Penelope Wilton), a long time ally and confident of Ewen’s; and the pretty Jean Leslie (Kelly Macdonald), a woman who may cause office conflict.
Inspired by real events, this film is quite good. Like any historical epic, it runs a little overlong but has some fabulous acting and filmmaking easter eggs that makes me wonder if their presence is happenstance or intentional. The film likely could have been just as effective minus a bit of time (it clocks in at over two hours) and does muddy the waters some with some of its detail. But then there are plenty who appreciate detail in films.
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For some reason, I thought this was more of a comedic historical. It is not. The script sprinkles some comedy into the story which is nice, but mostly, it’s a drama recounting an actual mission albeit one that likely elaborates a bit to make a compelling story. The cast helps to make this one as good as it is. There’s Jason Isaacs and Johnny Flynn (who is perhaps best known as Knightley from the 2020 version of Emma.). Then there is the main trio.
Seeing writers pit Firth and Macfadyen against each other is quite funny. You don’t have to know the history there to enjoy the film, but knowing that Twitter users “fight” over which of these men is the better Mr. Darcy makes me wonder if these scenes are intentional. Then there is Macdonald, who co-stars with Colin Firth in Nanny McPhee and perhaps is the de facto Elizabeth Bennet here.
The fact that this is inspired by something in history makes this interesting. How true the facts are, I don’t know. But the film is well made and that (almost) final scene, dramatized or not, makes me all the more sad that our idea of “doing something” is creating Twitter threads about our resentment or anger. Not everyone has to “fight” for something, this story is proof of that, but we can do more with our time than create a social media post that rarely accomplishes anything. Whether this film meant to or not, that’s the lasting impression it leaves me with.
You can find Operation Mincemeat digitally to stream on Netflix.
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Content: There are at least two sexual situations, both involving the same man. One shows some making out before the woman presumably receives/gives a “hand job” and later, we see the same thing between two men when a man draws his hand onto his privates, and using it to “pleasure” himself. There is some war violence nearer the end of the film and we see some men shot. There’s 2-3 uses of the f-word and other more commonplace profanity. Talk crops up about an affair and whether someone is engaging in one. The film is PG-13.
Photos: Warner Brothers