Written by Niamh Brook
Operation Mincemeat tells the titular, true story of the British Intelligence agents who, in 1943, set out to fool Hitler and save the lives of countless Allied soldiers.
Directed by John Madden, Operation Mincemeat follows Ewen Montague (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) as they attempt to successfully complete operation mincemeat and fool the Nazis. The operation in question involved using a corpse carrying fake intelligence documents to be floated into the hands of the Nazis, tricking them into moving their troops to different shores and saving the lives of countless Allied soldiers.
The story is as entertaining as it sounds and Madden’s direction alongside Firth and Macfadyen’s performances creates a tone that balances humour and tension almost perfectly. It is almost hard to describe the film’s tone, knowingly silly, serious and respectful all at once. With a story as bizarre as this, the tone plays exactly as it needs to, allowing you to giggle with the characters, not at them. This is even more prevalent when it’s revealed that Ian Flemming, the creator of perhaps the most famous fictional spy in the world, James Bond, came up with the original idea for the mission. The film prides itself in slipping in references to 007, almost winking at you as it does so. Where Operation Mincemeat falters is with a forced love-triangle plot that slows the pace down to a halt at times and adds about 15 minutes extra to a film that is already longer than it needs to be.
Whilst I enjoyed Operation Mincemeat, I fear the film radiates ‘Sunday afternoon entertainment’ and hasn’t come to mind once since I left the screening, even if I did leave with a smile on my face. It’s the type of film to watch when you are full after a roast dinner, settling down with a cup of tea to watch a film with something for everyone to enjoy. A historic period piece with jokes, spies and Churchill, it’s almost as if it’s the quality street tin of cinema - with something you’ll either love or hate around every corner.
Operation Mincemeat is a great watch if you want to learn something and have fun doing so however if you are looking for a period piece that will stay with you long after the credits roll, this might not be the one for you.