Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, and Kelly Macdonald star as stylish spies during a real WWII mission.
“Operation Mincemeat” is based on the true, successful British deception operation of WWII to disguise the allied invasion of Sicily. “Operation Trojan horse” is too obvious of a sting operation name, as they would say, and that’s why “Operation Mincemeat” is a go. The mission has to be convincing enough for them to trick their enemies.
Probably the first movie to retell the mission since “The Man Who Never Was” back in 1956, “Operation Mincemeat” is also the first film directed by John Madden since “Miss Sloane” back in 2016. He picks the right lead roles-Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, and Kelly Macdonald-who know how to use their dialogue and styles without trying to steal the picture away, and even if parts of the film drag on a bit, he still tells the mission like it was.
Firth and Macfadyen play two intelligence officers Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley, who must aid in the rouge to save their country. Ewen has to send his family to America to protect them, wile Charles is trying to get over the loss of his solider brother.
For one thing, they need a real dead man named Glyndwr Michael, who died from eating rat poison. They need to make him look like a real officer of the Royal Marines, and they need to give him a fake name-William Martin-a name that should throw the Germans off track. This isn’t ideal for the widow (Gabrielle Creevy). I mean how could it be? But it’s still crucial for the mission.
Macdonald plays a widowed secret service clerk named Jean Leslie, who agrees to provide a female photograph for the operation. She also may be involved in a romantic situation, while trying to acknowledge that the mission is supposed to be real. She also doesn’t want to be some kind of a prawn given the loss of her husband, as she explains to Ewen. But she still sticks around, and he still has his good side.
With a supporting cast of Jason Isaacs (as Admiral John Henry Godfrey), Simon Russell Beale (as Winston Churchill), Penelope Wilton (as secretarial head Hester Leggett), and Johnny Flynn (as THE Ian Fleming), “Operation Mincemeat” has the kind of interests and entertainment value as some recent thrillers of its kind, like “The Courier” with Benedict Cumberbatch,” without its interests in mass marketing. This may be released in the USA by Netflix (and Warner Bros. internationally), but it still has a certain kind of consideration for its target audience.
Not every part of the story (with the screenplay by Michelle Ashford based on Ben Macintyre’s book) is as interesting as the successful plot, but it does use a talented cast and a lot of faith and courage to retell the mission.
Firth and Macfadyen both play the agents with different aspects in their characters, but with the same style as determined agents. They use their words, tones, and mannerisms to adapt themselves into this true story. And Macdonald, who is of Scottish decent, is able to use her English accent without hamming things up, and she also has her strength as a woman. The story may take place during WWII, but even her character still has a mind, and I’m glad there are no pigs.
John Madden directs the film with patience and consistency-the kind of elements “Operation Mincemeat” needs in order to pull off the mission. It’s no surprise that the British will win this operation, since it’s based on a true story, but we still want to watch and be absorbed by how it depicts history. Both the mission and the movie are successful.
In Select Theaters Tomorrow
Streaming on Netflix Next Week