Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat

In 1943, two British intelligence officers concoct Operation Mincemeat, wherein their plan to drop a corpse with false papers off the coast of Spain would fool Nazi spies into believing the Allied forces were planning to attack by way of Greece rather than Sicily.

  • Released: 2021-11-06
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History, War
  • Stars: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Johnny Flynn, Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, Jason Isaacs, Mark Gatiss, Hattie Morahan, Paul Ritter, Tom Wilkinson, Simon Russell Beale, Lorne MacFadyen, Markus von Lingen, Ruby Bentall, Alex Jennings, Ellie Haddington, Nicholas Rowe, Will Keen, Mark Bonnar, James Fleet, Alexander Beyer, Nico Birnbaum, Pep Tosar, Alba Brunet, Pedro Casablanc, Óscar Zafra, Javier Godino, Jonjo O'Neill, Amy Marston, Gabrielle Creevy, Simon Rouse, Paul Lancaster, Michael Bott, Charlotte Hamblin, Rufus Wright
  • Director: John Madden
  • Flickerater - 2 March 2024
    Excellent drama; badly underrated here
    This isn't a war film, nor a documentary. People down-rating it on either basis have it all wrong.

    This is historical fiction, weaving an imaginative drama around real facts. And very well done. The settings and production are excellent, the dialog realistic, the casting and acting all first-class, and the story sensitively conceived and realized.

    One might complain that some soldier's uniform patches are wrong for his division, or that a typewriter was actually post-war, or some such material detail. But to complain that the people involved in the subterfuge didn't have the personalities and relationships developed here is to miss the entire point of... historical fiction.

    Take this for what it intends to be and you'll be impressed. Insist that it should have been something else and you'll just miss out.
  • ma-cortes - 7 August 2023
    Based on the extraordinary true story and well directed by John Madden
    Thrilling story with an interesting plot : In order to fool the Germans into thinking the Allied invasion of Sicily will take place elsewhere, British Military Intelligence comes up with a cunning ruse. In the context of WW2 narratives, the story of Operation Mincemeat is unique , a bizarre and seductive cinematic blend of high-level espionage and ingenious fiction, where the stakes could hardly be higher. Here two intelligence officers : Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) , Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen), helped by Jean Leslie (Kelly Macdonald) and Hester Leggett (Penelope Wilton) and even Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn) under command of Admiral John Godfrey (Jason Isaacs) , all of them planning a cunning operation by using a corpse and false papers to outwit German troops. It tells a richly human story of the soldiers we seldom see, who fight a different kind of war in shadows and deception, haunted by the knowledge that certainty and guarantee of success are nowhere to be found. Deception !. The Greatest Weapon in War !.

    Competently shot by John Madden (Shakespeare in love) and based on actual events, this wartime thriller is finely starred by Colin Firth and Matthew Macfayden and inspired by the bestseller ¨Operation Mincemeat¨written by Ben Macintyre in which two officers scheme ¨Mincemeat¨, the most absurd and risky disinformation strategy of WWII . Michelle Ashford's storyline fuses multiple strands and moods : tense , romantic , exciting , unexpectedly funny , and endlessly surprising , though the romance story adding nothing to the story . The same name ¨Mincemeat¨ already shows the implausibility of the plan : a corpse disguised as a member of the British royal navy, which carries false documents is thrown onto the coast of Spain - Huelva- from where the "highly confidential" information will be delivered to the Nazis, turning the tide of the war.

    ¨Operation Mincemeat¨ stands out for the impeccable performances , a detailed script and the plot's own intrigue. However ; being harmed by its long length and by describing an unnecessary triangular love story between the three protagonists that does not add anything to the story, in such a way that about half an hour of the film is left over , with a duration of 100 minutes it would have been enough to perfectly complete the film.

    Adding more details to those well described in the film : Operation Mincemeat was a successful British deception operation of the Second World War to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily. Two members of British intelligence obtained the body of Glyndwr Michael, a tramp who died from eating rat poison, dressed him as an officer of the Royal Marines and placed personal items on him identifying him as the fictitious Captain (Acting Major) William Martin. Correspondence between two British generals that suggested that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia, with Sicily as merely the target of a feint, was also placed on the body. Part of the wider Operation Barclay, Mincemeat was based on the 1939 Trout memo , written by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the Director of the Naval Intelligence Division, and his personal assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming. With the approval of the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the military commander in the Mediterranean, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the plan began by transporting the body to the southern coast of Spain by submarine and releasing it close to shore, where it was picked up the following morning by a Spanish fisherman. The nominally neutral Spanish government shared copies of the documents with the Abwehr, the German military intelligence organisation, before returning the originals to the British. Forensic examination showed they had been read and Ultra decrypts of German messages showed that the Germans fell for the ruse. German reinforcements were shifted to Greece and Sardinia before and during the invasion of Sicily; Sicily received none. The full effect of Operation Mincemeat is not known, but Sicily was liberated more quickly than anticipated and losses were lower than predicted. The events were depicted in Operation Heartbreak, a 1950 novel by the former cabinet minister Duff Cooper, before one of the intelligence officers who planned and carried out Mincemeat, Ewen Montagu, wrote a history in 1953. Montagu's work formed the basis for the 1956 British film The Man Who Never Was (1956) by Ronald Neame with Clifton Webb as Montagu , Gloria Grahame , Stephen Boyd , Robert Flemyng . And this second British film based on the events was released in 2021 under the title Operation Mincemeat.
  • stephen-317 - 9 January 2023
    Apparently Ben Macintyre's book was the source
    I'm not sure what the film wants to be. Upper middle class anxiety or a wartime soap. The source material is a real event that you can't make up. Unfortunately the producers made up other stuff instead.

    Some parts represent actual events but not necessarily in that order or what even actually happened.

    The worst crime was how the 'small' Spanish village was represented. The local doctor had seen many drownings and was in fact quite an expert which the Mincemeat team were unaware of. But the producers decided no intelligence exists in fishing villages Read up on the events, they are better than this film.

    7 for a nice quality feel 6 for watchability 7 for performances but minus 1 for dreadful slow direction 1 for shameless inaccuracy 5 overall.
  • lmrk5705 - 29 December 2022
    Could have been fantastic...but
    What an excellent story, and a phenomenal cast including the last ever appearance by the wonderful Paul Ritter. RIP 😢 A true story of how the British tricked the Nazis into believing that they intended to land of force in Greece when in fact they wanted the Nazis to move their resources away from Sicily so the British could invade and effectively remove Italy from the war.

    Unfortunately the problem with this movie is it is way too long and although the first half moves along at a decent pace, the second half is protracted, and consequently loses momentum. The main reason for this is the side focus on a drawn out and quite irritating romance which really detracts from the overall story. Such a shame. Excellent performances from Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and the always brilliant Jason Isaacs. The weak link for me was Kelly McDonald who I find is an actress of very limited range and totally unconvincing in this role.
  • dingalingalong - 13 November 2022
    Never was intelligence this good
    I need to see the 1956 original movie of this story.

    This 2021 version seems far too competent and fantastical than what reality must surely have been. And as others have reviewed, the love triangle is just painfully formal. Right up Colin Firths' alley.

    What is intriguing is the double double double crossing that goes on in the spy community. Nothing can be trusted at all.

    A class movie, but seems too fanciful. I suspect much more of a slapped together plan was implemented.

    And what of Ian Fleming? Why wasn't he busy doing his duty instead of writing fiction.

    I need to watch it again though, and not many movies do that.
  • tomsview - 7 September 2022
    Martin. William Martin
    Out of the hundreds of movies I saw growing up in the 1950s, I have always remembered one powerful scene in particular. It's the one in the hospital room in "The Man Who Never Was" when Ewan Montagu (Clifton Webb) requests from a father the body of his dead son for a purpose he cannot reveal.

    Although the film was based on fact, that episode never happened.

    "Operation Mincemeat" is closer to the real story.

    It's based on Ben Macintyre's labyrinthine book about the British plan in WW2 to let a body wash ashore in Spain with a fake identity carrying false papers designed to fool the Germans into believing the Allies were planning to invade Greece rather than Sicily. Enter Major William Martin.

    In the earlier movie it was all Montagu's idea, with nods of approval from everyone else, however this movie reveals that it was an unusual trio of minds: Montegu (Colin Firth), Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew MacFadyen) and Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn), later of Janes Bond fame, who came up with the idea.

    We now know Willie Martin's real name was Glyndwr Michael.

    Although "Operation Mincemeat" probably captures the spirit of the men involved and the way the plan came together, it also has fictional episodes.

    A film has to engage us on another level beyond a straight documentary (already made from Macintyre's book in 2010), but I think the film undermines itself when Glyndwr's fictional sister turns up. Maybe the scene in the earlier film with the fictional father was the inspiration, but it doesn't have the same emotional impact.

    One of the tragedies of the real story, brought out in the book was that Glyndwr was unmissed and unclaimed. This film loses that haunting sense of the unknown man drifting ashore that permeates the 1956 film, "Last night I dreamed a deadly dream... "

    Here Willie Martin is less of a central character compared to Montagu, Cholmondeley and Kelly MacDonald as Jean Leslie AKA Pam. In fact he is treated in an altogether more cavalier fashion, possibly reflecting the truth; after all, the operation was codenamed Mincemeat.

    The film has a polished look, and they must have scoured the country for all those vintage cars, but where are the barrage balloons and sandbags around the buildings? The Blitz was mostly over by 1943, but London was still prepared.

    "Operation Mincemeat" is interesting enough, but there are flaws, some surprising and some that are disappointing.