Review by Dan Skip Allen
Several WWII films have been made in recent years. Filmmakers with various visions have come out of the woodwork with their take on stories and experiences from one of the worst conflicts in human history. This film, Operation Mincemeat, tells what is arguably the greatest story in WWII that no one has ever heard about.
A group of British Naval officers, Army officers, politicians, and civilians get together to deceive the Nazi regime by planting seeds of a fake attack on Greece when they are actually making a last-ditch effort to attack Sicily instead. This is a life and death mission that could save thousands of lives. That is the mission of these men and women.
The Twenty Committee is a secret group in charge of covert activities during wartime. They were essentially spies during WWII in 1943. The Allies work together to try to deceive the German industrial complex, at this time in history, an absolute juggernaut taking over country after country and killing millions of Jews and other men and women. John Madden goes full bore into this story and WWII like I've rarely seen before.
Madden assembled an all-star cast for this film. Taking the lead is Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech). He plays a Naval officer, Ewan Montagu, who loves his country and will do whatever it takes to keep this secret mission under wraps. Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice, Succession) plays Charles Cholmondeley, a French officer with equal loyalties to his country and hate for the Germans. Kelly Macdonald plays a widower who, by chance, gets involved in this scheme and loves every minute of it — even a love triangle she finds herself in. Johnny Flynn plays the famous spy novelist Ian Fleming. He is the narrator of the story as well as a literary documentarian. He keeps notes of all the goings-on in this story that were not released for decades later. Jason Issacs plays Admiral John Godfrey. He is skeptical of the plan but reluctantly goes along with it at various points of its inception. And Simon Russell Beale plays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He knows what this plan means for the Allies and their survival. If these plans they've set forward get into the wrong hands, thousands of men and women could die at the hands of the Nazis. This cast is phenomenal from top to bottom. Even the head of the secretarial staff is a great actress from Downton Abbey, Penelope Wilton.
With any WWII film, the production value and set production are critical aspects of how a film looks. With John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) at the helm as director, you know this film is going to look and feel very authentic to this period. The costumes and hair designs had to be spot on, or it wouldn't look right. The set decoration had to be of the time as well. Everything looked great!
This film is one of the best I've watched in 2022. It takes a tried and true genre and infuses it with intrigue. War and spy films have been together before, but not this well. Add in the specific period during which they need to look and sound the part, and you have an all-time fantastic spy film set in WWII. The cast and direction are very good, and John Madden and Netflix have a big hit on their hands.
Operation Mincemeat hits Netflix on May 11.