Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Operation Mincemeat’ on Netflix, a So-Crazy-It-Just-Might-Work True World War II Story Ferried Along by Colin Firth – Decider
Best Mother’s Day Movies to Stream In 2022
‘Along For The Ride’ Proves Netflix Is the Perfect Home for Sarah Dessen Books
‘The Blue Lagoon’ Was Highly Scandalous In The ’80s — And Even More So Now!
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Along for the Ride’ on Netflix, a Late-Teens Rom-Dram Boasting a Winning Performance by Newcomer Emma Pasarow
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Kids In The Hall’ On Amazon Prime Video, Wherein The Canadian Comedy Supergroup Exhumes Itself
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Senior Year’ on Netflix, a Culture-Shock Comedy in Which Rebel Wilson Flails for Laughs
Norm MacDonald’s Secret Final Comedy Special to Air on Netflix
Rebel Wilson Transforms Into Britney Spears For “Crazy” Dance Scene In ‘Senior Year’
Fred Ward, In Memoriam: The Multi-Talented Actor Was An Onscreen Everyman, But Also A Lot More
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ on Netflix, A David E. Kelley Series Reboot Of The Novel and Film Character
Robert Pattinson’s Accents, Ranked By How Bizarre They Sound
Where to Watch ‘On the Count of Three’
Where Is Donald Cline Now? The Doctor From Netflix’s ‘Our Father’ Doc Still Lives Free
Netflix’s ‘Our Father’ Is The Horrifying True Story of a Fertility Doctor With Over 90 Children
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Our Father’ on Netflix, Where A Fertility Doctor Is Outed As A Fraud And His Own Donor
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Jane by Charlotte’ on VOD, a Disarmingly Intimate Mother-Daughter Documentary
New Sheryl Crow Documentary ‘Sheryl’ Is Tale Of Determination, Sacrifice, And Artistry
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres’ on Netflix, a Fascinating Doc About One of Rock Journalism’s True Greats
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Sheryl’ on Showtime, A Doc Looking Back On Sheryl Crow’s Career Highs And Life Lows
‘Randy Travis: More Life’ Is A Testament To Country Singer’s Talent And Ongoing Health Struggles
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Bad Guys’ on VOD, a Modestly Clever Cartoon Riff on Heist Capers
Best Mother’s Day Movies to Stream In 2022
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Marmaduke’ on Netflix, Miserable Kiddie Fodder Featuring Pete Davidson As The Voice of a Troublemaking Dog
What Time Will ‘Marmaduke’ Be on Netflix? How to Watch the Pete Davidson Movie
‘Candy’ Episode 5 Recap: The Verdict
Will There Be a ‘Candy’ Season 2 on Hulu?
‘Candy’ Episode 4 Recap: Aftermath
‘Candy’ Episode 3 Recap: The End (and the Beginning) of the Affair
‘Real World Homecoming New Orleans’ Episode 4 Recap: “It Shouldn’t Be Comfortable We’re Talking About Racism”
‘Real World Homecoming: New Orleans’ Exclusive Clip: Melissa Questions How Original Season Edited Sensitive Race Conversations
‘The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans’ Episode 3 Recap: “Outta Bounds Part 2”
‘The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans’ Episode 2 Recap: “Outta Bounds Part 1”
‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ Episode 4 Digs into the Tragic Origins of Mormon Polygamy
Stream It Or Skip It: ’42 Days of Darkness’ on Netflix, A True Crime Drama Where a Woman’s Mysterious Disappearance Takes Over Her Sister’s Life
‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ Episode 3 Recap: Prisoners of Faith
‘Under The Banner Of Heaven’ Is A True Story: Read Jon Krakauer’s Book
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Bling Empire’ Season 2 On Netflix, With Even More Partying And Petty Fights Among L.A.’s Super Rich Asian-Americans
‘Selling Sunset’ Boss Says Christine Quinn No Longer Has a Place at the Oppenheim Group
Chrishell Stause Confirms She’s Dating Non-Binary Rock Star G Flip During ‘Selling Sunset’ Reunion
Chrishell’s Satin Dress in ‘Selling Sunset’ Is Your Go-To Special Occasion Dress
‘We Own This City’ Episode 3 Recap: A Tale of Two Cities
Is ‘We Own This City’ Based on a True Story?
Darrell Britt-Gibson Did “Everything In His Power” Not To Play Rayam in HBO’s ‘We Own This City’
‘We Own This City’ Episode 2 Recap: Training Day
Ana Navarro Says Formula Shortage, Roe v. Wade News Make Her “Thankful” to Have “Shriveled Up, 50-Year-Old Ovaries” on ‘The View’
Joy Behar Snaps at Sara Haines on ‘The View’: “Don’t Interrupt!”
Joy Behar Drops S-Bomb on ‘The View’ But The Bleep Didn’t Come Fast Enough
Whoopi Goldberg Sprays Down Sunny Hostin During Chat About “Gorgeous” Nude Jesse Williams: “Cool Off!”
This week on Bangers and Mash Theatre (please pronounce this thea-TAHH) is Netflix historical drama Operation Mincemeat, a BOATS (Based On A True Story) movie about English tweedsters doing their damnedest to put one over on ol’ Hitler during World War II. The nonpareil Colin Firth (why hasn’t he been knighted yet?), Succession star Matthew Macfadyen and the ever-underrated Kelly Macdonald play the military spy-types who concoct a so-crazy-it-just-might-work / against-the-odds / stranger-than-fiction scheme that seems like a perfect movie plot for Brits to mutter their way through for more than two hours. Now let’s see how it fares in the hands of Shakespeare in Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel director John Madden, shall we?
The Gist: JULY 10, 1943: Can I go one measly week without this hackneyed-ass extended-flashback structure? Probably not! A solemn Firth voiceover goes on about the seen and hidden battles of wartime, and he’s one who fights on a “battleground in shades of gray.” We see a submarine surface at nighttime. It drops something in the water as battleships ready themselves for the thing that’s the first part of that compound word. SIX MONTHS EARLIER (deep sigh), we learn that Firth’s voice belongs to Ewen Montagu, former counsel to the King, now a man of mysterious profession, the kind that he can’t talk about unless you have security clearance. His marriage is in the crapper. The Nazis are advancing across Europe. His wife and kids are going to America to avoid the inevitable blitzkrieg on British shores, which means Dunkirk isn’t even a thing for Christopher Nolan to make a movie about yet. Most of this sucks for all of us, but all of it sucks for Montagu.
He sits down with a bunch of pale important men to discuss British war strategy. The German fascists have a stronghold in Italy. The Brits want to pretend to launch an offensive via Greece so Hitler averts his forces from Italy, thus opening the island of Sicily for easy invasion. How will the Brits pull this off? By planting false intelligence on a dead body and making sure it falls into German hands, after spending six months sowing the seeds for such a feint via embedded British spies and wiretaps and the like, and creating a soldier’s backstory for the body all the way down to the tiniest detail, duh. It seems so obvious now, doesn’t it? And guess what, even Winston Churchill himself (Simon Russell Beale) – who at this point already has done things to inspire Joe Wright to hire Gary Oldman to play him – signed off on the plan, but not before gravely orating, “If we don’t fool the Nazis and the enemy is waiting for us on those beaches, history herself will avert her eyes from the slaughter.” No pressure!
So Montagu heads The Twenty Committee and their main maneuver, dubbed Operation Mincemeat, because Operation Fake Dead Guy was too on-the-nose. His closest counsel consists of Hester Leggett (Penelope Wilton), Jean Leslie (Macdonald) and 17-time winner of Most British Name Ever, Male Category, Charles Cholmondeley (Macfadyen). As they find the perfect dead guy and concoct a fictional life for him – a photo of his fiancee, a letter from her full of yearning, etc. – for the sake of believability, and plan a series of maneuvers to get him into the hands of the murderous bastards who are their enemy, we learn about how sad our three principals are: Montagu’s strained marriage finds him taking a shine to the widow Leslie, although Cholmondeley is also interested in her, and single, and therefore the more viable romantic candidate despite his being an utter dorkwad. There’s also some question as to whether Montagu’s brother, who lives with him, is entirely loyal to his country, and the added melancholy of Cholmondeley’s predicament, which involves still living with his mother, who mourns his late war-hero brother, as well as the added assignment of discerning whether the Other Montagu is committing treason.
Complications, complications. But none are more complicated than the wargames here – getting the Nazis to swallow their little corpse scheme, then hoping that they’re not onto the scheme and counterscheming with their own phony intelligence, and therefore only pretending to avert forces to Greece while actually remaining fortified in Sicily. And it’s even more complicated than that, believe it or not. The layers of suspense really stack up in this one, I tell you.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: This story was told in celluloid before, in 1955’s The Man Who Never Was, which borrowed its title from the real-life Montagu’s memoir. Operation Mincemeat would pair nicely with The Imitation Game, as both involve British buttoned-ups sweating it out in secret locales, hoping their parallel spy-game/shadow-war maneuvers are successful.
Performance Worth Watching: Come for Firth, who’s typically excellent but not challenged here, stay for Macfadyen’s complicated maneuvering and Macdonald’s strong-independent-woman character who’s the emotional heart of the film.
Memorable Dialogue: Montagu: “Well. What say we start with the easy part and find ourselves a corpse?”
Sex and Skin: In British Movies of Propriety like this one, the mere twitch of an eyebrow follicle signaling sexual attraction buried beneath several layers of wool – e.g. between Montagu and Leslie – is enough to earn an NC-17. Translation for the relatively unrepressed: There is no sex or skin in this movie.
Our Take: There’s a conspicuous sense that all parties involved with Operation Mincemeat have so crisply honed their skills with this type of material that they could execute it in their sleep. A backhanded compliment? Ever so slightly, but that doesn’t render the film a dud, rather, mostly the opposite, as cast and director quite competently navigate period sets in period neckties and dresses, finding tiny little moments of understated wit – e.g., a line like, “We are not sending 100,000 men into battle on a missing eyelash!” –- amidst period interpersonal dynamics. It’s a good movie – period? Sure. Period.
The film’s keenest irony is how it underscores the madness of the deception plan – which makes putting a message in a bottle and tossing it in the ocean a viable alternative – with British decorum, which all but demands that no one raise their voice or unbutton a collar despite the mighty, sweaty-bollocks tension of a situation. There are moments when the film lists a bit under the weight of a needless subplot or two (the my-brother-might-be-a-Russian-spy one, for example) at the expense of further quietly delightful interactions between Macdonald (showing complex character shades) and Firth (in a role Michael Caine might’ve played 25 years ago). And visually, it’s Just Fine, maybe making one wish for the vibrant indulgences of a Joe Wright endeavor. It’s nevertheless a wholly watchable, reasonably entertaining, finely crafted wartime non-fable with a nice little romantic current running through it.
Will you stream or skip the World War II historical drama #OperationMincemeat on @netflix? #SIOSI
— Decider (@decider) May 12, 2022
Our Call: STREAM IT. Operation Mincemeat gets the job done respectably.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.
This story has been shared 25,421 times. 25,421
This story has been shared 12,160 times. 12,160
This story has been shared 4,990 times. 4,990
This story has been shared 4,697 times. 4,697
This story has been shared 3,593 times. 3,593
This story has been shared 3,076 times. 3,076
This story has been shared 2,817 times. 2,817
This story has been shared 2,650 times. 2,650
This story has been shared 1,769 times. 1,769
This story has been shared 1,489 times. 1,489
This story has been shared 1,469 times. 1,469
This story has been shared 1,296 times. 1,296
This story has been shared 1,232 times. 1,232
This story has been shared 1,218 times. 1,218
This story has been shared 1,018 times. 1,018
via Inferse.com https://www.inferse.com
May 14, 2022 at 10:17AM