There’s such an overwhelming sense of patriotism hitting the UK these days. And not the good kind. The very unhelpful kind. It feels like every time something happens, people on the right are bringing up the blitz spirit. When we were in the midst of the pandemic, Tory MPs and their supporters proudly announced that people didn’t hide away in WW2. What they failed to mention is that that’s exactly what they did during air raids. There’s nothing like the overconfidence of a rich guy talking about a war that ended before they were born.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be proud of what Britain did in WW2 but it’s not a victory that we can really share in. If you didn’t fight in the war, you can’t share a portion of the glory. It says a lot about the government that the only things they really talk about besides Brexit are the memories of the British Empire and WW2.
This is why Operation Mincemeat isn’t a surprising film. It details an operation that saw the British army fool the Nazis into believing fake battle plans. The British were planning on heading to Sicily but the Nazis were preparing to head them off. Using an undercover operation, a committee created a ruse that suggested Greece was their focus. Britain getting one over on a European nation? It’s the perfect tale for post-Brexit Britain.
But is it a good film? Operation Mincemeat is a pretty standard military espionage movie. There are a lot of scenes in meeting rooms followed by a bunch of people nervously waiting for a telegram. Then there are the clandestine meetings in foggy streets or busy bars. If that’s your kind of thing then you’ll love this. There’s also a really weird and awkward romance plot that didn’t really need to be included.
Oh and let’s not forget Ian Fleming haunts the story like Banquo at the feast. He helped come up with the original plan so is often found in the background typing away. Although, he’s nothing more than a bit of fun. The in-jokes littering the film are clearly intended to add weight to the main story. A story that the film clearly didn’t think was enough to interest a modern audience. After all, it’s full of subplots and tangents to keep them interested. All of which combine to make Operation Mincemeat feel more bloated than it needed to be.
More bloated than the corpse at the centre of the plot. Really, it feels as though someone thought “what if we combine Weekend at Bernie’s with James Bond and chuck in Colin Firth for good measure”. There are some good moments in this film but it’s nothing memorable. The only thing that really makes it noteworthy is that this was Paul Ritter’s final performance before his death in 2021. Ritter is in fine form but, as a whole, this is a little too straight for an unbelievably true tale.