Truth, Lies And The Stiffest Of Top Lips #filmreview #operationmincemeat

I’m never entirely sure who our favourite heroes are, when it comes to being British. After all most people seem to think the suavest of English heroes in one J Bond should be played by an unashamedly nationalistic Scot in Sean Connery. Plucky underdog, maybe? Worthy if misunderstood. You can’t be clever, rich and brave. That Ironman chappie, fr’instance would never pass the focus groups.

And there must be flaws and suppressed emotions if any of the characters are (a) men and (b) refighting WW2.

Operation Mincemeat panders to all stereotypes in a rather formulaic way for what is a terrific story. That’s possibly because such action as there is either involves a corpse, is in Spain and Italy or in the gloomy passages of blackout London and these moments are of the heaving chest sort.

If you’ve not caught the plot, essentially this is about a bonkers idea to try and convince German High Command that the first sea based landing onto Continental Europe will be in Greece not Sicily. To do that a fictitious officer will be washed up in northern Spain ostensibly carrying the top secret plans for a Grecian invasion which will fool the Germans.

It’s not a plot spolier to say it worked. The question is: does the film.

Yes, largely. Understandably given this is a war movie where the protagonists are of the boffinly sort, spending their lives in Smokey offices and gloomy clubs, the focus is on the way in which spending your life creating complex fictitious worlds spills over into personal lives. At one point one character bemoans he is surrounded. ‘By Germans?’ ‘No, writers,’ he bewails. Everyone is at it.

To stop this being a lot about getting the dead body to Spain and waiting, the script writer throws in a bit of a love triangle, a dodgy brother, a set of cameos by one Ian Fleming who acts as narrator and occasionally one of the irritating writers penning some early Bond ideas. The Spanish scenes tend to be a little Pythonesque and towards the end a carrot of some sort of German complicity is dangled which may be true but seems at odds with the rest of the film.

However, it is such a great story and the acting so good that these are little bits of grit in the shoe compared to the romping story itself. If you don’t mind yet another ‘the boys done good’ version of WW2, you can believe Colin Firth is still a heartthrob at seven score or whatever he’s now and hope there are still as many daft weirdos doing service on our behalves as there were in the 1940s, give this a go. I think it’s on Netflix though we braved our local picturehouse, which, sadly, given this film is only just out, was less than half full.

Cue cat, dog and tortoise pics…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Truth, Lies And The Stiffest Of Top Lips #filmreview #operationmincemeat

  1. An excellent, entertaining, review

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joylennick says:

    Always entertaining, Geoff. Definitely a film to watch. I have no desire whatsoever to see enormous, modern, shiny monsters zooming about the sky performing miracles by the minute…But then, I’m ancient and appreciate a certain amount of realism, not that a dash of magic, here and there is not welcome…x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At the risk of sounding completely out of date, this film does have a rather comely array of chaps in naval uniform in it! It’s a great story (seem several documentaries, one of which was partially dramatised) and probably translates well to the larger screen. Many thanks for the review (amused at the suppression of emotion/re-fighting WWII bit!) – makes me want to see this. Clever that they inserted Ian Fleming. Not sure who should be the new Bond – certainly not the chap in the recent Ipcress File, I’m afraid.
    Love the row of pics of the animals.


    • TanGental says:

      I so agree re the Ipcress chappie; he seemed like Michael Caine had he been born prematurely and was still trying to catch up. Yes I think you might enjoy it. Did you watch the mini series about the bloke and his canoe?


  4. willowdot21 says:

    This film sounds right up my street, love a good war film 😌! The menagerie are are looking good as does your breakfast ? ☀️🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice to see someone buying a newspaper. Obviously for making paper fire lighters in these straightened times of 50 guineas a kilowatt!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An excellent review, Geoff. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A most interesting description of this film, Geoff. I loved Sean Connery.


  8. Sam Turner says:

    John Madden’s remake of Operation Mincemeat and Ben Macintyre’s novel make for great viewing and reading. The Madden film is based on Macintyre’s novel, and they are both a fake news aficionado’s paradise when it comes to trying to differentiate layer after layer of fact and fiction. Nevertheless, as with many war or espionage thrillers like the Ipcress File it’s a shame the film industry is producing yet more remakes. If success is to breed success the film industry must not polish old gems but mine for new ones. In these genres, examples of such new gems include Mick Herron’s Slow Horses from the Slough House stable and Beyond Enkription, the first fact based spy thriller in The Burlington Files series by Bill Fairclough. The celluloid adaptation of Slow Horses looks destined to become an anti-Bond classic. As for The Burlington Files let’s hope the film industry hears of it. Not being a remake this enigmatic and elusive thriller may have eluded you.


    • TanGental says:

      thank you for the insights, Sam. I had heard about Slow Horses but you’ve nudged me in that direction to make sure I catch it. And I will look out for Burlington Files. I’m not an aficionado of spy stories generally, so it’s good to have pointers from those who do. I’m not entirely sure what you last sentence is meant to convey, however…


  9. noelleg44 says:

    Your review has piqued my interest! And what a smashing place to have breakfast!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. JT Twissel says:

    Sounds like the type of movie my husband loves. It not playing in the US until May.


  11. V.M.Sang says:

    I seem to remember there was a film about this in the 1950s called The Man Who Never Was. At least I remember something about a body washed up somewhere with false info for the Germans to find.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can assure you that Colin Firth will always be a heartthrob – and he’s only 61!

    Liked by 1 person

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