Andrea’s film review – Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat ⭐️⭐️ 1/2  Review by Andrea Carnevali

During WWII, two intelligence officers use a corpse and false papers to outwit German troops. Out in cinemas, including Chiswick Cinema, from this Friday.

The true and relatively little-known story about a bizarre deception plan by the British during the Second World War at the expenses of Hitler’s troops, is a very intriguing set up. Whether there’s enough to fill a two-hour-plus movie, I’m not completely sure.

In fact it seems those same doubts must have gone through the minds of the film-makers too: Michelle Ashford’s script is padded with some really unnecessary storylines, including a very badly handled romantic subplot, which I could have definitely done without. These not only hurt the overall pacing and tension the film is trying to create, but they are also a distraction and take the focus away from the core of this otherwise fascinating story.

Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), wants to make an old-fashioned film with a timeless quality to it, but it all ends up feeling a bit dry and rather unimaginative. Madden relies a bit too heavily on dialogue and not enough on action. I’m not saying I needed to see bombastic explosions and fist fights, but I can’t help feeling there was a better film to be made from this stranger-than-fiction real story.

Interestingly a musical with a comedic twist has also been made from the same story. I wonder whether it would have worked better as a farce rather than a straight story.

In the film the endless discussions among the various key players acting behind the scenes to orchestrate the stunt after a while begin to feel repetitive and not even the strong British cast can help. Among the names in the film are Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Jason Isaacs, Simon Russell Beale as Winston Churchill and of course Colin Firth, who is usually a likeable presence, but here, playing a character who’s actually restrained in his emotions, comes across a little bit lifeless.

Look out for Johnny Flynn playing a Pre-Bond, young Ian Fleming, at that time a Naval intelligence officer involved with the operation. One wishes he’d also been involved with the script of this film: it would have certainly given it more bite.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Operation Mincemeat is out in cinemas this Friday.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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