Operation Mincemeat came out in cinemas on 15th April 2022. The film is set in 1943, as the British Allies are preparing to launch an assault on Fortress Europe. Daniel Evans reviews.
A poor script, sluggish pacing, and an excruciating and unnecessary love triangle overshadowed what could have been a fascinating story.
Operation Mincemeat focuses on a British deception during World War Two. The aim was to draw German forces away from Sicily, to ease the allied landings there. In short, the plan was to plant fake documents on a corpse and float it to Spain.
Once there, the documents would be guided into Nazi hands, in the hopes they would alter German strategy. Operations like Mincemeat undoubtedly saved tens of thousands of lives, however, those who planned and carried them out are rarely acknowledged. I was certainly excited to see such an impressive cast being brought together to tell this story.
Blame must be placed squarely at the feet of the director
Sadly, this film cannot not seem to make up its mind. I had expected a film similar to The Imitation Game (2014) or maybe even Argo (2012); unfortunately I was disappointed. The performances are largely pedestrian, and the script and scene construction often very stagey. It continuously veers into the realms of melodrama, and I did not find myself warming to any of its characters.
Kelly Macdonald’s attempt at an English accent is distracting, and Matthew Macfadyen’s character is irritating to say the least. Neither of these are the fault of the actors, and blame must be placed squarely at the feet of the director, John Madden. Quite why he felt the need to create artificial conflict instead of utilising the considerable talents of his cast, is beyond me.
Reduces one of the few female characters to little more than a love interest
The films worst offence is its forced and unnecessary love triangle. For one, it is incredibly tiresome, and the scenes wasted on it draw out the film, and feature some of its worst direction and acting. Aside from being boring, it also reduces one of the few female characters to little more than a love interest. This further perpetuates the myth that women did not play a significant role in the war effort.
There is also significant wasted potential. The film is at its strongest when it actually covers the operation itself. Submarines surfacing in stormy seas and its scenes in Spain are by far its strongest, however they are unfortunately relegated to a sideshow, in favour of a hackneyed romance. You would think that a film titled Operation Mincemeat would cover more of the actual operation, but for some inconceivable reason, forced conflict and tedium take precedence.
If you like soppy romance and wasted potential, then this is the film for you. If you were expecting an exciting story covering one of the most intriguing episodes of World War Two, then you will be disappointed. This film is not worth watching if you are a fan of romance or espionage, as it categorically fails at both.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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