Operation Mincemeat is a stylish dive into history with a fantastic cast ready to show off their chops at any given moment. Based on the true story of the deception that took place during the Second World War, Operation Mincemeat is solid storytelling, but more than that, it’s a spectacle for performances.
It’s a wartime espionage that’s thoroughly entertaining all the way through and easy to follow for anyone who might not remember (or know) about the true story. And while such films aren’t always easy to stomach, Operation Mincemeat doesn’t get too dark even though it reminds viewers of the harrowing darknesses that occurred.
The film carefully examines the pangs of unrequited love, second chances, and perhaps, the most intriguing element, the sparks that ignite inspiration for storytelling.
There’s never been a more genius decision than to put Colin Firth, Matthew MacFadyen, and Johnny Flynn in a film to attract all the Austen fans. But the cast also features known faces like Jason Isaacs, Penelope Wilton, and more. MacFadyen and Firth are especially compelling as Charles Cholmondeley and Ewan Montagu, even while they subtly go head-to-head for the same woman.
MacFadyen’s facial expressions are astounding throughout the film as he consistently shows us not only what his character desires but how deeply he cares about those around him. Firth also touches on Ewan’s doubts with such subtly that it’s fascinating to watch what he could bring to the surface through swift changes in his character’s journey.
There is also much to be said about John Madden’s directorial vision, as every shot in the film is worth deconstructing. He shows us everything we need to see with added layers that contribute to the storytelling in a memorable, tonally warm fashion for a film that keeps us on edge most of the time.
But it’s Johnny Flynn as Ian Fleming that steals the spotlight (at least for this writer). There have been various actors to play the now renowned 007 writer, but Flynn’s version could be its own separate cut. He escapes into the role in what feels like seamless embodiment, utilizing his facial expressions and body language to stand as a figure whom we could expect espionage-themed literature from.
As the film’s narrator, Flynn’s voice seamlessly guides viewers through the historical events that have mattered during this time, and it’s almost so easy to listen to him that you can’t help but be in awe of the involvement.
Though Operation Mincemeat ultimately showcases a series of events leading to the trickery that saved thousands of people underneath the historical layers, it’s a story that unfolds how inspiration comes to the surface. While Charles deals with his unrequited love and Ewan has a second chance to be with his wife and family, Flynn’s character takes us through the sparks that ignite storytelling. It’s an homage to the impossible situations that become something more extensive than what human beings could fathom, and it’s a closer look into the quiet moments where, when there’s nothing else left to do, writers put their feelings and the experiences of those around them onto paper.
It’s a quiet look into the people who pay close attention—the ones who look a little deeper, trying to figure out how to do something bigger than themselves to save people.
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Operation Mincemeat is now streaming on Netflix.