Blending high-level espionage with ingenious fiction, OPERATION MINCEMEAT is a lavish, well told, old-fashioned war story about the greatest weapon in war – deception.
It is said that the greatest weapon in war is deception, and if John Madden’s latest spy thriller OPERATION MINCEMEAT is anything to go by, it certainly is true.
Set in 1943 during World War 2, OPERATION MINCEMEAT tells the extraordinary true story of an elaborate plan to deceive Hitler into believing English forces intend to land on Greek soil instead of the south coast of Sicily.
To lure them off the island, soldier Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew MacFadyen) and naval officer Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) create a sophisticated confusion game, using a corpse and false papers to fool the Germans.
Blending high-level espionage with ingenious fiction, OPERATION MINCEMEAT is a lavish, well told, old-fashioned war story about the greatest deception of our time.
Director John Madden meticulously reconstructs the discussions between the decision-makers, largely relying on Michelle Ashford’s dialogue to create mood and tension.
The viewer is transported into wartime Britain thanks to its impeccable costume and set design by Andrea Flesch and Linda Wilson, respectively, and Sebastian Blenkov’s stunning cinematography, which creates a deeply sober mood to reflect the wartime reality.
In the lead role, Colin Firth shines as the honourable, patriotic, and steadfast Montagu, putting the needs of his country above his own and never showing a hint of emotion on his face.
Matthew Macfadyen brings subtlety and restraint to the character of Cholmondeley, while Kelly Macdonald is both engaging and likeable as pretty MI-5 agent Jean Leslie.
Shame then that the filmmaker’s decision to use Macdonald’s character as a love interest in the story, with both the married Montagu and single Cholmondeley attracted to the pretty widow, falls a little flat.
While the love story certainly adds to the tension of the piece, it also skews the film’s focus, detracting from the truly remarkable story of OPERATION MINCEMEAT and Jean Leslie’s role in its success.
That said, there is plenty to like here with OPERATION MINCEMEAT telling a richly human story of the soldiers we seldom see – ones who fight a different kind of war in shadows and deception.
OPERATION MINCEMEAT is released in UK cinemas on 15 April 2022.
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.